The Impact of Materialism on Consumer Ethics: An Empirical Study on Adult Students in Hong Kong

Lai Wah Lui Olivia, Canon Tong, Anthony Wong


This research examined the relationship between materialism and the unethical behaviour of consumers and how demographic variables affect the relationship between materialism and consumer ethics. A research framework with five hypotheses was established to examine these relationships.  The study adopted the consumer ethics scale and the measure of materialistic attitudes scale (MMA) used in prior studies.  Based on convenience sampling, 303 potential participants were selected to complete an anonymous questionnaire. Findings indicate that the relationship between materialism and consumer ethics is not significant and that demographic variables of age, income and education all have a moderating effect on the relationship with education being a very important factor in developing a healthy ethical attitude among young people which may prompt governments to allocate more resource to education and encourage educators to pay more attention to moral and civic education.

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