Study finds New Zealanders’ notions of ‘back-to-business’ are changing

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Cat Mules

Understanding consumer behaviour is more vital than ever for business amid Covid-19 lockdown, but it’s sometimes not as predictable as one might think.

New Zealand insights agency Perceptive recently undertook two surveys six days apart with a focus group of 1000 Kiwis. Examining changes to sentiment and volume of brand mentions, it revealed just how quickly we change our focus when facing mass uncertainty.


Perceptive newscast 8.04.20

The study’s key findings?

1 – How companies handle consumer expectations during crisis matters.

Consumer perception starkly dropped for several well-known New Zealand brands, including the Mad Butcher and The Warehouse, who countered government regulations during the lockdown. By contrast, participants were positive about campaigns from large chains, like supermarkets, media networks, banks and service providers, that follow regulations, and enhance distance, wage equality and benefits.

2 – Mass visibility is more distributed than it was before.

Consumers are looking to TV and movies across all hours of the day during lockdown, the go-to activities reported by 71 percent of the participants when asked, ‘what are you planning to do while the country is on lockdown?’

3 – Consumers want businesses to adapt.

Demand for businesses to start operating again went from 36 to 48 percent, showing that the longer the lockdown continues, the more individuals want to resume their normal lives. Participants expected more good behaviour from brands, even those they saw positively.

Changes to how – and what – we consume change on the daily, but insights understanding customer behaviour is increasingly important to our local business. So how can parts of our sector use new consumer habits to its advantage? Oliver Allen, general manager at Perceptive, said it was clear customers are closely watching and judging how brands handle Covid-19, revealing plenty of scope for brands to respond in creative and smart ways.

“From this data we can see that this can be done through smart, creative responses to the Covid crisis that actually help customers, it can’t just be communications. The key is that they need to be genuine, brands that are perceived to be acting in a self-serving way are being judged harshly by the consumer.”

Discover more:

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Cat Mules

Umbrellar's Digital Journalist, coming from a background in tech reporting and research. Cat's inspired by the epic potential of tech and helping kiwi innovators share their success stories.


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Microsoft is a technology company whose mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world.

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Changing stakes on ‘back-to-business’ for New Zealanders

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