COVID-19 Conversations week #4 report

16 April 2020


This week we wanted to see how New Zealanders were feeling about week 4 of lockdown.

Throughout the COVID crisis, One Picture has spoken to thousands of New Zealanders from across the country to monitor changing consumer behaviours and attitudes. This week, we remain in level 4 lockdown, but consumer sentiment continues to evolve.

Last week

We aimed to dig deeper into what’s changing, taking a closer look at how we are feeling about those sectors that have built us as a nation, and also been affected through this crisis.

Our three key findings were:

1. We fear the impact of COVID-19 on our family’s future prosperity and security more than the virus itself. We fear the unknown and uncertainty of the present, but we do not think ourselves likely to contract the virus.

2. It is believed that the agricultural/ primary sector will now be the returning hero in our economic recovery. We are more interested in going back to the tried and proven rather than the new. But we also know that there is a view that to be globally competitive we also need to be technologically competitive.

3. There is an emerging sense of general anxiety and it’s growing. Our anxiety can be directed at many things but mainly it’s about financial security and keeping our jobs.

Learn more from week 3 here

This week

This week, we aimed to uncover aspects of normal life New Zealanders miss the most, as well as how they are finding being confined to their homes.

Our three key findings were:

1. NZers think NZ is doing a great job at responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, feeling we are responding better than other countries. This is making us prouder to be Kiwis

2. We are starting to shift from an external, global focus to one more internal, in our own backyards. We have a fresh appreciation for our home environments. We've been using the time at home to tick off our to-do lists, including DIY and home improvements. However, we are going to need to get out to hardware and home improvement stores soon

3. Although we are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on our financial situations and we are holding off on big purchases until we can reassess our financial situations, we're looking to spend consciously on things close to home, and there is a spark of desire this week to support local businesses

What did our fellow Kiwis tell us this week?

We think NZ is doing a great job at responding to COVID-19 – and this makes us prouder to be a Kiwi

  • 96% believe that NZ is doing better than other countries at dealing with COVID-19.
  • 83% feel that NZ's response to COVID-19 makes them prouder to be a NZer/living in NZ

As we have seen in the weeks past, there is an overall feeling that the government is doing a good job of responding to COVID-19. This week we see this reflected in our belief that we are dealing with the pandemic better than other countries. This generates an increased sense of pride in being a Kiwi – we believe we are doing well, and we are proud to show this to the world.

We continue to find aspects of lock down difficult:

Loneliness and longing for others:

“I’m missing personal contact with my friends and my child is missing her sport.”

“Finding it difficult being in isolation by myself -I'm still working, I have colleagues I can talk to, but it's lonely."

Anxiety and uncertainty:

“The 24 hour news cycle - I am finding it difficult to stop checking the news and consuming more media makes me stressed.” 

“I am a lot more paranoid my anxiety has gone up so my mental health is challenging right now."

Financial security and support:

“Money was tight before lock down and food shopping is now a lot more expensive.”  

“It is really hard right now. I am a contractor so have poor job security. A fact that I am often reminded of at work.”

A new normal and new routine:

“I'm finding it difficult to stay active after working from home, and eating properly. I guess I want normality and some routine back in my life.”  

“Not doing the job I would normally do – I appreciate my normal job more.”

When asked what has been most difficult during lock down, many referred to the loneliness created from not seeing those they love; missing connection and longing for those they used to see frequently. This also related to reports of feeling anxious and uncertain of the future; feelings only increased from watching the news about the pandemic spread worldwide. As with prior weeks, financial security and support for a new way of life played on the minds of NZers, and we are trying to find a new normal and new routine. This has implications for NZ businesses –our consumers have more on their minds right now than buying essential items; they are searching for support now and in the future.

A shift from an external, global focus to our own back yards.

We are not planning on buying homes or cars, rather looking to spend more consciously to improve things around us, e.g. home DIY and maintenance. During the lock down we have been completing our to-do lists around the house, as well as finding further tasks and little improvements to do. From maintenance and DIY projects, to simply decluttering and reorganising, many of us are looking for ways to better our living arrangements – of things we never noticed before spending so much time there. Consumers are itching to get to home improvement stores to complete their home projects – e.g. gardening supplies (38% need to buy) and materials for home improvement and DIY (35% need to buy) - with many wishing they had stocked up on supplies prior to the lock down. Ultimately, these small wins provide a sense of purpose, helping with our mental health.

Anxiety and uncertainty:

“Maintenance is essential. Look at fencing around the property, paint garage and the garden needs a lot of work."

"Need to do small maintenance items like fix locks."

"I need to spend some more time on maintenance of the property and try and learn some skills in order to be able to do some of the tasks myself."

Home DIY projects:

“I would love to repaint the walls.” 

“I should have gone to Bunnings to get what I needed to do what I wanted in the lock down.”

“We love the (small) size of our house and want to add more character to it as well as an outdoor entertaining space and vegetable garden.”

Home de-cluttering and reorganizing:

“It is an ideal size we just need to make better use of our space.”

“We have far too much "stuff" and can easily live a more simple life.”

“A desire to de-clutter. And my garden is indeed a mess.

When lock down does ease, we're looking forward to living life more in the moment and focusing local.

We are looking to live more in the moment – enjoy the smaller things (something we have seen develop over the past weeks). After the lock down we hope to travel domestically, mainly so we can spend more time with those we love. To spend money more consciously on things they need rather than simply want, and taking some aspects of their new lock down routine into their normal routine, e.g. simplifying life and finding more free time. Most importantly, there is a spark of desire to support local businesses once lock down is over: grab a takeaway coffee from the local café, have a burger from the fast food restaurant down the road, travel domestically rather than internationally. Little, local, simple pleasures become our focus.

Time with friends and family:

“I will probably spend more time with people.” 

“After lock down I just want to hug my family and friends. I think I’ll be cautious about being in large crowds for awhile.”

Support local and small businesses:

“After I’ll be visiting a small business to help pump money into their business so we’re in it together.” 

“We have been saving money so we can go and have dinner out at lots of local places."

Watch spending and save more:

“I will be even more careful with money and spending. I will be reassessing my options and way of life.”

“After lock down I won't be spending as much money on what I now deem as unnecessary things.”

Combine old and new routines:

“Seek out and mindfully create opportunity for free time and connection.”

“Makes me realise life can be simple if required... After lock down, I will try to continue this routine as much as possible.”

We are focused on watching our spending, but this does not mean stopping our spending

We are focusing on watching what we spend because we are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on our finances (69% are worried). However, this does not mean NZers are planning on stopping spending altogether, rather they are looking to spend more consciously; choosing things that are accessible and important to us now. Clothing and shoes (42%), gardening items (38%) and building supplies for DIY home projects (35%) are currently the most enticing for NZers – all purchases which will benefit the home and contribute to their to-do lists.

We’d love to hear your questions. Be part of the One Picture COVID Conversation.
Please email them to Questions are posted every Friday, with findings available EOB Wednesday. We look forward to you being part of it.

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Tags: Travel & tourism, Remote working, Wellbeing, Events, COVID19, Insights