COVID’s Continuing Affect on Kiwi Consumer Spending

Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company, decided to check in with Kiwis to see how the pandemic is continuing to impact consumer behaviour, retail and personal spending; and how brands should respond in return.

Nearly half of Kiwis say that COVID-19 has or will impact their household income.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Kiwis’ concerns about the financial impact of COVID-19 have outweighed any anxieties surrounding health. The last time Kantar surveyed Kiwis was the beginning of June, just days before the country celebrated moving into Level 1. As the pandemic has reappeared in the community, so too have Kiwis’ fears about what this means for them and the wider economy.

With nearly half of all Kiwis saying that COVID-19 will impact their income, if it hasn’t already, the ramifications for Kiwi brands, in terms of how they support and engage with consumers, is huge.

More than one-third of Kiwis will cancel or delay their holiday plans.

With consumer confidence low, Kantar wanted to see which categories would be most affected when it comes to making future purchases. You can see here where Kiwis had planned on making a purchase but in the last few weeks have either made a decision to delay or cancel. While it isn’t a surprise that around 10 percent of us have reviewed our plans to purchase big-ticket items, it does show that the travel industry will be further impacted by New Zealand’s second wave of community transmission.

What will it take to make Kiwis feel safe? Less than a third think it is face masks.

The Government’s policy on shutting the border to non-residents and citizens is what will make most Kiwis (57 percent) feel safe to return to normal daily life, with just over half of Kiwis (51 percent) saying it will be vaccinations.

Brands have an important role to play with 48 percent of consumers saying that regular sterilisation measures at places they go to will make them feel safe. Somewhat surprisingly, and relevant to the Government’s announcement that from Monday all Kiwis must wear face masks on public transport, is that just 30 percent of Kiwis say everyone required to wear face masks is what will make them feel safe to return to normal daily life.

Which of the following would need to happen for you to feel safe to return to normal daily life?

Supporting local remains paramount for consumers.

Kantar has seen a significant shift in what Kiwis would like to prioritise in the past 11 weeks. Supporting local companies is a trend Kantar has seen globally and there is also good news for home-kit providers, tertiary education institutions, and companies selling online; while banks and other financial services providers should be mindful that Kiwis will no doubt continue to look to them for guidance on how to save money.

Which of the following would you like to continue or prioritise going forward?

Supporting charities and their own employees is what consumers want to see brands doing more of.

Consumers have made it clear that they will be supporting local, and two-in-five Kiwis also want brands to advertise what they are doing to help the community during the crisis. However, there is also a big opportunity for all brands – including global ones – to support charitable initiatives by donating advertising space and, as outlined earlier in this summary, with 42 percent of Kiwis worried about their own job security, consumers are looking to see how brands will support their own employees during COVID-19.