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Surprise surprise: Kiwis spending less in lockdown, research finds

Kiwis are saving their pennies by spending less as they adapt to life in lockdown, according to new research from Opinion Compare. 

As New Zealand settles into the fourth week of alert level 4 lockdown as the country tries to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Kiwis are spending on average close to a third less than what they were spending before lockdown took hold. 

A nationally representative survey New Zealanders ages 18+ conducted on the 16 of April identified in the last three weeks, 61% of the population believed they had spent less than normal.

The research found that while 61% believed they were spending less, 27% felt they were spending the same, with only 12% spending more.

Thriftiness in current conditions correlates with age, the survey found. The older generations were most likely to nominate a reduction of spend, while less than half of millennials believed their spend have decreased - while 37% nominated it had stayed the same.

Spent less by age:

  • 18-34 49%
  • 35-44 60%
  • 45-54 63%
  • 55-64 70%
  • 65+ 75%

When asked to estimate the decrease in their spend, it’s an overall reduction of 32%, while it’s the millennials who had decreased their spend that did so the most.

Decreased spend by age:

  • 18-34 36%
  • 35-44 31%
  • 45-54 35%
  • 55-64 29%
  • 65+ 29%

"While the latest Opinion Compare research isn’t surprising based on the weekly insights we’ve uncovered, the deliberate cut in spending on things like socialising and leisure activities is starting to see money staying in the bank," says Gavin Male, chief executive of Opinion Compare.

"Millennials are an interesting segment - while they are less likely to have spent less, those that did, were the highest of the age groups," he says. 

"Perhaps it’s only one avocado on one bit of toast these days. Overall though, the juxtaposition between the desire to support local business but looking after your own interests is starting to play out in lockdown and you have to wonder what the next couple of weeks will bring."

Opinion Compare is the research arm of NZ Compare and offers an independent way to deliver Kiwi opinions into New Zealand business decision makers. 

"We created Opinion Compare for brands and agencies operating in New Zealand because poorly informed decisions can lead to costly mistakes," says Male.

"We provide a range of ways to get the insights businesses require. Traditional qualitative and quantitative research methodologies are covered as well as new and different approaches if required. We’re passionate about creating a world where consumer opinions help shape and deliver better products and services for everyone."