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New Zealanders batten down the hatches

18th May 2009

New Zealanders batten down the hatches
Attitude New Zealand’ report shows widespread concern for household finances

Financial insecurity is the number one cause of rising stress levels in New Zealand leading most people to decide not to buy anything in the next six months costing more than $2,000.

While fears over job security, lack of savings and dwindling retirement assets are causing the most concern, the majority of New Zealanders say they are least stressed about the state of their health, well being and quality of life.

The findings are contained in the inaugural Attitude New Zealand report produced by market research company, Perceptive. The report, which includes the first ever New Zealand Stress Index, surveyed 1000 New Zealanders throughout the country aged between 15 and 65 plus, with annual incomes ranging from below $20,000 to more than $100,000.

Perceptive Managing Director, Chris Pescott, says the survey, mapped against the latest government census, has a +/- 3 per cent margin of error. ‘It is as robust and accurate as the best political polls,’ he says.

Mr. Pescott says the survey shows that while New Zealanders are deeply worried about their finances, most (78%) don’t want to know anything more about the recession which is having a powerful affect on their spending habits.

Over 80% say they are going to spend less and save more, with 38% indicating they will save any government tax refunds and three out of four (71%) not planning to spend more than $2,000 on any item over the next six months. This would include cars, television sets and furniture.

The 29% minority who are planning on spending more than $2,000 in the next six months are looking at holidays 6%, vehicles 6%, and house renovations 3%.

The Attitude New Zealand report shows that an overwhelming number of New Zealanders 91% still place their trust in the banking system.

While believing that their money remains secure in local banks, only 1% have complete trust in New Zealand businesses, with 5% having no trust at all and 55% remaining ambivalent towards business.

The Warehouse and Kiwi Bank emerged as the businesses engendering the most trust 8%. Other businesses rated ‘most trustworthy’ included TSB 2% and Fonterra 2%.

Warehouse founder, Stephen Tindall, was seen as the most inspiring business leader 12%, followed by economist Gareth Morgan and property developer Bob Jones, both with 5%.

Top of mind brands across a range of categories included Air New Zealand 73% (airlines), Westpac 18% (banks), The Warehouse 38% (retail), Genesis 21% (power), Southern Cross 41% (healthcare), Toyota 27% (motor vehicles), University of Auckland 19% (universities), McDonald’s 49% (fast food), Vodafone 54% followed by Telecom 38% and Telstra Clear 2% (mobile phone networks), Telecom 26% and Xtra 17% (ISP), Pak n Save 33% and New World 27% (supermarkets), Tui and Speights 7% (alcohol), Shell 40%, BP 29%, Mobil 6% (petrol), SkyCity 10% (cinemas).

Pak n Save was also shown as the brand with which New Zealanders had the strongest connection 6% and felt they needed the most 9%. Air New Zealand was the most desired brand 6%.

TradeMe 28% was the favourite online store followed by EziBuy 4% and Amazon 3%.

TV One 26% and TV2 22% were the most viewed channels and also had the most popular programmes, Coronation Street 9% and Shortland Street 7%. TV One news 36% and TV3 26% were the favourite news sources, with both the internet and the NZ Herald equal as news sources on 4%.

New Zealand’s reputation as a safe country to live in has diminished with some 60% of those surveyed indicating it was ‘not as safe as it used to be’. Only 3% thought it ‘totally unsafe’. More Wellingtonians 51% felt that NZ was a safe place to live, followed by Aucklanders 43% and South Islanders 35%.

In the same vein, 56% thought New Zealand was still clean and green, ‘but not as much as it used to be’. There was an even split (21% versus 22%) between those who thought it was still clean and green and those who thought it was not at all clean and green.

In this context, the survey shows that most New Zealanders (71%) did not understand the meaning of the term ‘sustainability’. The three companies thought to have led ‘sustainable thinking’ were Meridian Energy 4%, Fonterra 4% and The Warehouse 3%.

According to the Attitude New Zealand report, most New Zealanders had never considered leaving the country. Of the 36% who had considered leaving, the top three reasons given were better money 7%, career 6% opportunities and family 3%.

The survey shows that most New Zealanders felt increasingly comfortable conducting their business transactions online:
• 72% purchased on line
• 83% regularly conducted internet banking

The reason for using the internet has changed significantly. No longer is the internet regarded simply as the information super highway. The number one reason now is to communicate and social media is on the rise with nearly a third of people indicating they read blogs and 8% having written their own blogs:
• 88% believed that social media was here to stay
• 58% used Facebook
• 18% used Bebo
• 7% used MySpace
• 3% used LinkedIn.

Twitter is a rapidly rising social media platform with 6% of New Zealanders regularly tweeting, even more than in the US where Twitter use is at 5%.

The survey was conducted by Perceptive in April 2009. Perceptive will be updating the Attitude New Zealand survey every six months.


For more information about the report:

Video - Chris Pescott talks about the results

Podcast - About Attitude New Zealand

Graphics - Results charts Photograph of Chris Pescott

Enquire about the report

Note to Editors:

Perceptive specialises in market research to provide deep insights into its clients' businesses. Using innovative and traditional market research methodology, Perceptive provides its clients with intelligence to attract and retain customers and optimise performance and profitability.

Chris Pescott is the Managing Director of Perceptive. Chris is passionate about helping companies harness the power of research. Being an active researcher for almost 10 years, he pioneered the commercialisation of the Stakeholder Performance Appraisal which received global recognition as being among the best stakeholder research tools in the world. Chris has established a network of more than 100 clients in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.

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