PriceSpy survey finds COVID-19 changed NZ buying habits, reveals most popular Christmas gadgets

An illustration of a woman buying a Christmas gift on a computer
Twenty percent more Kiwis are shopping earlier for Christmas from before the pandemic. Photo credit: Getty Images

A new survey from price comparison website PriceSpy gives insight into how COVID-19 has changed New Zealand's shopping habits and revealed what tech gadgets most popular this Christmas.

According to the survey, 27 percent of the 500 respondents are now shopping months ahead of Christmas - a 20 percent increase from before the pandemic.

In the past the survey found Kiwi shoppers traditionally like to leave things to the last minute, said Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, New Zealand country manager for PriceSpy.

"This year the survey results are very different. We have seen a significant shift in when people will buy gifts for the festive season with people now saying they tend to do most of their shopping up to six months in advance," she said.

Shoppers are also looking to buy local, with 43 percent of respondents saying they will buy from New Zealand owned and operated businesses.

"Shoppers, it seems, are aware of the wider impacts that the global pandemic is causing, from manufacturing and supply chain issues, price increases, distribution delays and increased consumer demand," Matinvesi-Bassett said.

"So, what people 'want' this Christmas may not necessarily be available."

That's likely to include at least one of the top two gadgets the website is predicting is going to be most popular this Christmas.

Based on its data, PriceSpy says Apple's AirPods Pro and Sony's PlayStation 5 are likely to be in demand.

But those searching for the latter are likely to end up disappointed, with ongoing chip shortages and logistics delays caused by COVID-19 meaning PS5s are still in short supply in New Zealand.

The console remains out of stock at the big technology retailers. Purchasers may have to resort to the secondary market like Facebook Marketplace and Trade Me to secure one in time for Christmas.

There may be some good news for those who are leaving it late, however, with the website's Price Index showing prices tend to drop dramatically in the last few days before Christmas.

"Our pricing data indicates buying last-minute especially across the last few days leading up to Christmas Day could deliver the best prices, alleviating some of the financial pressures some will be feeling across the festive season," Matinvesi-Bassett said.

It's a gamble though. The Christmas rush with courier and postal services might mean some of those last minute deliveries aren't received in time.

The most popular gadget predictions, based on PriceSpy's click insights, are:

  1. Apple AirPods Pro
  2. Sony PlayStation 5
  3. Sony WH-1000XM4 earbuds
  4. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 
  5. Apple AirPods

The top trending shopping categories this festive season are:

  1. Fryers (including air fryers) - popularity up 202 percent 
  2. Robot Vacuum cleaners - popularity up 126 percent
  3. Electric scooters - popularity up 122 percent
  4. Board games - popularity up 53 percent
  5. Perfume - popularity up 58 percent year