Kiwi consumers spending less – study


Kiwi consumers are still keeping a close eye on their wallets in the wake of the global financial crisis, and are showing a new appreciation for environmentally friendly products, according to a University of Otago study.

The research was carried out in late 2013, and saw more than 2000 New Zealanders asked around 600 questions about their lifestyle, consumption patterns, choices and behavioural trends.

Lead author Dr Leah Watkins says the study found a general downturn in consumer confidence, with respondents becoming more critical towards Government spending and business in general.

Consumers are also increasingly conscious of wastefulness and the environmental consequences of consumption.

"In our study we suggest that these topics may be linked to the global financial crisis and its impact on consumer spending power, and a perception of targets for Government spending such as social welfare being relatively more deserving in the current economic climate."

The respondents were more likely to value frugality and resourcefulness, and there was a greater alignment with traditional values when compared with a study carried out in 2005.

"The latter change includes greater agreement with propositions that 'by returning to the standards of our grandparents, New Zealand would be a better place to live' and 'obedience and respect for authority are the most important things children should learn'," Dr Watkins says.

The respondents were split into seven groups with 19 percent identified as 'progressives', 15.4 percent as 'disengaged', 13.2 percent 'young pleasure seekers', 8.4 percent 'new greens', 10.9 percent 'success-driven extroverts', 16 percent 'quiet lifers' and 17 percent 'traditional family values'.

The authors also found satisfaction with life as a whole was down slightly compared to 2005.

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