Hong Kong shopping is one of the city's real attractions, however getting value for money in the city is becoming more and more difficult. The 11 tips below should ensure that you pay less and not more. Think we've missed something? Tell us what your top Hong Kong shopping tip is and read tips from our readers
- Compare Prices
Check the price of the item you want to buy in your home country first. When you arrive in Hong Kong you should check out some of the larger department stores or reputable dealers for your product. You can't start bargaining until you know how much you should be paying. Also take a quick look at our article Is Hong Kong Expensive?
- Always Bargain
Prices in Hong Kong are more a suggestion than a fix and you should always look to negotiate at least 30% of the ticket price at markets and smaller shops. Before you start haggling, it might be worth taking a look at our Bargaining in Hong Kong Guide which explains the rules and etiquette involved.
- Know the Product
Know exactly what you want to buy. Which features do you want, accessories, model. Again, looking around in your home country and at reputable stores in Hong Kong means you'll have some honest advice.
- Choose Your Shop Carefully.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board has a Quality Control Scheme that vets shops on pricing, honesty and a host of other attributes - these shops generally don't offer bargains but are reputable. Unless you are confident of price and product, you should also avoid shops that don't clearly display the price of an item.
- Shop Around
If you're determined to go bargain hunting, shop around. Hong Kong salespeople are notoriously aggressive when negotiating, however the ball is in your court, if you don't like the salesperson or the price quoted is to high, move on to the next store.
- Hit the Sales
As befits a citu obsessed with shopping, Hong Kong has a number of bona fida sales seasons, where you'll find prices slashed and bargains a plenty. The major sales seasons are between Chritsmas and Chinese New Year and in late summer. Find out more in our article Where and When are the Hong Kong Sales Seasons.
- Check the Product
Hong Kong shops have an undeserved reputation for using switch and bait tactics, this involves showing you one product but placing an inferior item in the box. This practice is not widespread, nevertheless you need to make sure what you think you're buying is what you leave the store with. Find out more in our article on How To Avoid Bait and Switch in Hong Kong
Ensure compatibility. Check the voltage and broadcast of any item you want to buy.
Make sure the product has an international warranty. This can be a problem with 'Parallel Imports', these products are usually brought into Hong Kong by someone other than the official importer, and are often electronic items. Although cheap, their warranty is usually void.
- Beware of Bootlegs
There are plenty of bootleg and illegal products on Hong Kong's streets, which police usually turn a blind eye to, however if you are found with these at customs, they are subject to confiscation and you possibly to conviction. It's also worth knowing that most of these illegal operations are at some point down the line run by the Hong Kong triads
- Last Call
If you're in dispute, call the Consumer Council Hotline on 2929 2222 for assistance, you can also approach uniformed hawker police who patrol markets.