Consumer issues survey

Growing environmental concerns see more Kiwis change their shopping habits.

20feb consumer issues survey hero

For the past four years, we’ve surveyed consumers about the issues that matter to them. Environmental issues topped the list this year, for the second time in a row.

Eighty percent of Kiwis named water quality at rivers and beaches as their top concern. Packaging waste (78%) and climate change (72%) were next.

This year, we saw a marked rise in the percentage of Kiwis concerned about electronic waste – old appliances and other electronic gadgets. These products can end up at the tip, even though they contain valuable materials that could be recycled. Sixty-five percent were concerned about e-waste, up from 60% in 2018.

The quality of aged care (68%) and antibiotic resistance (67%) rounded out the top five concerns. Retirement costs also featured high on the list: 66% said they were worried about managing financially in their golden years.

Concern about home ownership remained steady with six out of 10 Kiwis picking it as a worry.

Thinking ahead, how concerned are you about the following issues?


Changing times

Our survey also found a rise in consumers changing their shopping habits in an effort to reduce their environmental impacts.

Six out of 10 agreed environmental considerations were important to them and they looked for “greener” products.

Fifty-two percent said they regularly tried to avoid products with too much packaging. That’s up from 42% in 2018. More consumers are getting goods repaired rather than replacing them – 47% “always” or “usually” opted for repair, compared with 43% in our previous survey.

Demand for organic produce was also up. One in five consumers said they regularly bought organic when available.

More consumers are getting goods repaired rather than replacing them.

The ban on single-use plastic bags has led to a sharp rise in the proportion of consumers routinely taking reusable bags when they’re shopping. Two years ago, 44% did so. That’s now doubled to 88%.

The big hitch for shoppers wanting to buy products with a lower environmental impact remains sorting genuine “green” goods from the fake. Seventy-two percent think it’s hard to find which products really are better choices, an increase from 68%.

Trust in green claims remains unchanged: just 51% of consumers feel they can believe the environmental claims they see on products. Given the green hype consumers face, that’s not surprising. Our research continues to uncover products claiming “green” credentials that don’t stack up.

Green claims


When shopping, do you...

Cost of living

Fuel prices remain the biggest day-to-day cost concern for consumers. This year, 80% named fuel costs as the household expense they were most worried about. For homeowners, rates and home insurance were next. For renters, it was food and rent.

Statistics NZ’s consumers price index (CPI) shows hikes in rental costs and food were major contributors to rising living costs last year. Rent increased 3.1% and food 2.5%, above inflation of 1.9%.

Rates and insurance were also up. Rates jumped 5% while the cost of home insurance rose 5.6%. Other insurance costs also put pressure on household budgets: contents insurance was up 5.1% and car insurance leapt 6.2%.

Going up

Vehicle insurance: +6.2%
Home insurance: +5.6%
Contents insurance: +5.1%
Local authority rates: +5%
Household appliances: +4.1%
Property maintenance services: +3.1%
Rent: +3.1%
Food: +2.5%
Vehicle servicing and repairs: +2.1%
Electricity: +1.4%

Going down

Telco equipment: -16.2%
Games and toys: -12%
Computing equipment: -5.6%
Books: -3.5%
International air travel: -3.4%
Vehicles: -3%
Furniture and furnishings: -2.6%
Coffee, tea, hot drinks: -2.1%
Carpet and flooring: -1%
Petrol: -0.8%

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