Traditional wet markets (agglomerations of small vendor stalls, each specializing in one fresh food line such as vegetables or fish) remain strong in Hong Kong even though supermarkets have penetrated all market segments there. One survey found that 77 percent of Hong Kong residents shopped at supermarkets at least weekly, and only l percent never shopped there, yet supermarkets captured only 24 percent of food retail sales with 97 percent of fresh food sales occurring in wet markets. Based on experiences in North America and Western Europe, one would expect supermarkets to dominate fresh food retailing. 

A more recent survey suggests that the continued dominance of Hong Kong wet markets has to do with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and on daily shopping and cooking. Wet market retailers are regarded as specialists offering a deep selection in a narrow range of items, and all respondents stated that wet market items were "fresher and cheaper" than those purchased in supermarkets. Paradoxically, lack of storage space and lack of refrigeration facilities were interpreted by study respondents to mean that products had to be cleared daily, further enhancing respondents’ perception of their freshness. Many respondents also mentioned their ability to get the exact amounts, sizes, and parts they needed as an important advantage of wet markets; fresh items in supermarkets were mostly prepackaged, leaving consumers little choice in these aspects.

The author uses the word “Paradoxically” in the highlighted text most likely in order to

introduce a situation in which something that typically would be considered a disadvantage is viewed as an advantage

refer to a result in a study that appears to contradict the results of an earlier study

note a phenomenon that is viewed in a negative way by the very people who most benefit from it

point out a discrepancy between what certain consumers reported on a survey and the way they actually behave

illustrate an instance in which researchers have found consumer behavior to be inexplicable


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