According to new research initiated by Mastercard, with the country slowly starting to open up, NZ consumers are starting to spend less money at home on items and more on experiences.
The survey also signaled an oncoming spending boom, with the average Kiwi consumer surveyed having saved nearly $3,000 during pandemic restrictions due to their regular spending habits being curbed.
When asked if their spending habits would change as summer approaches, the majority of Kiwis (65%) said they would shift away from their usual purchases to spend an additional $420 per month on average on experiences in a bid to make up for lost time and to reconnect with loved ones.
57% of respondents said they would engage in travel booking at a regional or international level, while 15% said they would invest in school holiday activities for their families.
Consumers were generally venturing into unfamiliar territory when it came to online spending habits during the pandemic. Two-thirds of New Zealanders (66%) purchased things from unfamiliar online websites or businesses that they had not purchased from prior to lockdown restrictions.
These kinds of buying behaviours resulted in some consumers receiving suspicious or unauthorised transactions on their bank accounts (6%), wrong or faulty goods (11%), spam texts or emails (24%) or found they were unable to contact the retailer to return or cancel an order (4%).
According to the survey, the average amount lost due to unsafe shopping habits and mistakes was $120.
Mastercard country manager for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Peter Chisnall says that although consumers should enjoy the rush of spending again, they still need to be cautious.
"For many Kiwis, the coming months will prove to be priceless as they reconnect and rediscover the joy of in-person experiences with friends and family. Which is why it is important to remember some general safe and sound purchasing behaviours that will ensure these often high-value experiences are not spoiled by malicious actors looking to make a quick buck from unsuspecting or new digital users."
To help encourage safer buying behaviour, Mastercard has partnered with consumer behaviour expert Dr Michael SW Lee to create the SMART shopping checklist. The company says the list is designed to help consumers make smart choices when spending:
Secure: Ensure your payments are safe, secure and protected.
Monitor: Monitor your accounts for fraudulent transactions.
Avoid: Avoid clicking on links you don't recognise.
Research: Do your research and check you are dealing with a reliable business.
Trust: Trust your gut feelings, especially if something sounds too good to be true.
Lee, an associate professor at the University of Auckland business school, says that the survey results indicated a massive shift to online purchasing. Consumers can protect themselves and not get caught in the rush by having smart shopping habits.
"It's amazing to see how quickly the shopping experience has moved online in the past few years. The fact that all respondents in the survey say they shopped online during lockdown, and two thirds of those had also shopped with a new business goes to show how important it is to be SMART when shopping online."
Pureprofile conducted the online survey, gathering the results of more than 1,000 New Zealanders nationwide from 6 November 2021 to 11 November 2021.