Switching supermarkets, forgoing eating out, and reducing energy consumption are some of the key ways Kiwis plan to save money, according to Toluna’s Global Consumer Barometer Study.

The study is a regular index that taps into a community panel of 40+ million members to provide accurate and timely information on the world’s current perceptions. The latest research surveyed 501 respondents in New Zealand between 23-29 March 2022.

The key findings show that New Zealand’s rising cost of living is impacting consumer spending. The increased costs of groceries, in particular, is forcing many Kiwis to make changes to their weekly shop. These changes include dropping their favourite brands in favour of generic ones, shopping around to find the best deals, and buying in bulk in order to save money. 

Reducing social activities such as eating out, as well as finding ways to reduce energy consumption, are some of the other ways New Zealand households will be trying to cut back on spending. 

The rising cost of living is having an impact on the way almost three quarters (73%) of Kiwis are spending their money. The increased cost of groceries is causing the most disruption, with 85% of Kiwis stating they’re being impacted by the rising cost of grocery items. 

New Zealand shoppers have particularly noticed the rising cost of fresh food (84%), as well as frozen food (68%), dry pantry food such as biscuits, pasta, etc. (63%), tea and coffee (61%), household cleaning items (61%), bakery goods (61%), health and beauty products (50%), soft drinks (43%), pet care (42%), and alcohol (45%).

Over the coming months, local consumers plan to change their shopping behaviours to help combat grocery price hikes, such as:

•        Changing the brands they normally buy – 31%

•        Buying more generic brands – 31%

•        Buy in bulk – 30% 

•        Changing the amount of snacks purchased – 26% 

•        Shopping around in search of value – 24%

•        Switching supermarkets to find a cheaper alternative – 24%

When it comes to purchasing decisions at the supermarket, price is by far the most important factor for the majority of Kiwi shoppers right now, with health and sustainability at the bottom of the list:

•        Price – 84%

•        Quality – 67%

•        On-promotion – 60%

•        Favourite brand – 60%

•        Health – 56%

•        Sustainability – 58% 

With the cost of living expected to remain high, 60% of Kiwis expect to be spending more on groceries for the next three months. 

Tightening the purse strings

In addition to the rising cost of groceries, Kiwis are also being impacted by price changes in other areas, including eating out (53%) and ordering takeaway (50%), buying clothes (51%) and beauty & skincare products (44%), booking holidays (55%), and buying electrical goods (46%). 

When it comes to budgeting, Kiwis said the first things they would forgo in order to save money include eating out (35%) and ordering takeaway (29%), followed by purchasing premium brand products (27%), going to bars & pubs (23%), overseas travel (23%), and gambling (18%). 

Further, almost a third (28%) of Kiwis are delaying purchasing items for their home as a way to save money, with 25% looking for more cost-effective ways to furnish their homes.   

Despite economic concerns, Kiwis are least likely to forgo their mobile phone contracts (35%) and TV subscriptions (31%) in a bid to save money. 

With energy costs also impacting finances, Kiwis are planning to review their energy consumption in order to slash energy bills over the coming months. Over half (59%) will be turning the lights off whenever possible, while four in ten (40%) plan to take shorter showers to reduce water usage. 

Other ways Kiwis hope to slash energy bills are by using eco/cold settings on washing machines and dishwashers (36%), reducing the target heating temperature (23%), and programming laundry during low tariff hours (18%). 

Stephen Walker, Regional Director, Toluna, New Zealand

“As we emerge from the pandemic, the rising cost of living is now one of the biggest issues for Kiwis. Our research shows that Kiwis are noticing price increases across a number of categories, and are changing their behaviours as way of trying to combat this,” said Stephen Walker, Regional Director, Toluna, New Zealand.

“Brand switching and shopping around to find better deals are some of the key tactics shoppers are using to save money, with price the absolute number one factor when it comes to making grocery purchasing decisions right now. Price changes are also impacting consumers’ plans when it comes to eating out and socialising with friends, right down to being conscious about shower timings and making sure all lights are switched off.

“Understanding today’s consumer is critical, and businesses will do well to ensure that communication with customers over the coming months largely focuses on price and value for money. It’s important that businesses evolve the way they position and market themselves in a way that aligns with current consumer sentiment.”

Toluna is the parent company of Harris Interactive Europe and KuRunData.

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