COVID Conversations week #5 report

23 April 2020


This week we learned how New Zealanders are planning for alert level reduction

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

Last week, we discovered the aspects of normal life New Zealanders miss the most and how we're coping with confinement at home.

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

Learn more from week 4 here



This week

This week uncovered how Kiwis are feeling and beginning to plan for Alert Level decreases – what they are feeling closer to, appreciating more and less, and making plans for.

Our three key findings were:

  1. We are still feeling luckier than ever to live in NZ, and we have a newly found appreciation of those closest to us as the lock down is allowing us to spend what is normally in short supply – TIME! This is also creating a fresh appreciation for stepping back, slowing down and appreciating the little and simple things in life
  2. We haven’t lost our desire to explore and are starting to turn our eyes to domestic travel. And with a ‘new normal’ weighing down on Kiwi’s, even our domestic travel may change. We now have a different priority of needs when considering a destination, focusing more on hygiene, cost and no crowds
  3. Coming out of lockdown our craving for fast food surpasses our plans to visit friends and family. The extraordinary times we are experiencing is giving us a newly found appreciation for the ordinary and the familiar


What did our fellow Kiwis tell us this week?

We are feeling closer than ever to those in our bubble, but distanced from those we used to feel closer to: our friends and colleagues.

This week we are feeling closer than ever to our immediate family and our country. But we are feeling further away from our extended family, our friends, our colleagues and other acquaintances, and the rest of the world. Our ‘bubbles’ have become what our lives revolve around and where our focus has be centred, making those outside of our bubble feel further away. The water cooler chats and hallway conversations are now difficult, distancing us further from those we used to see on the norm. However we are feeling closer to our country, potentially off the back of daily news updates that bring us together, and our strong pride in how our country is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.


We are feeling luckier than ever to live in New Zealand - we have a new found appreciation for our country and those closest to us

We have a new found appreciation for that which is safe and stable: our country, our immediate family and our friends. However being distanced from our workplaces is leading to less of an appreciation for our colleagues and other acquaintances – those that normally form a part of our daily lives but which we now realise are potentially more temporary than we used to think; those we would see in the hallways for a chat but no longer see and no longer have the opportunity to appreciate.

Our work can make life as we know it easier or more difficult, depending on how the remote workspace and expectations are managed. A crisis is shifting our focal point and we are refocusing on what it is that really matters - our family and our country. This has an implication for employment brands – it’s time for protection.

We have also mostly found happiness in our bubble, with only 6% stating they plan on seeking counselling once the lockdown is over. 59% of us have found a new appreciation for those close to them everyday.

This is a time for showing consumers that we know what really matters to them – those they love and the simple pleasures of life.

…And our favourite thing to do now is spend what we normally don’t have: time – something we intend to continue to spend post-lock down

Not only are we getting back to our roots – Kiwi values and simple pleasures – we are now spending what we normally do not have: time! Our favourite part of lockdown is being able to spend time doing the things we normally are too busy to do – spending time with family, baking and cooking, reading and watching TV, and getting outside for exercise and walks. And these new favourite pastimes are also now the aspects of our new routines that we want to bring forward with us out of lockdown. Whilst our ‘luxuries’ have been unavailable to us, we have learnt to love the simpler things. We have realised that ‘busy’ is a choice; that time can be used how we want it to.


This is a time to talk about and celebrate the simple things in life, and a time for brands based on heartland values to shine.


But we haven't lost our desire to explore, with a new found desire to travel domestically post lockdown

In being deprived of the little luxuries we had easy access to prior to the lockdown, we are becoming more appreciative of the smaller, simpler pleasures in life; the experiences rather than material goods. We are starting to make plans for domestic travel post-lockdown to create more experiences – mostly outside of the city we live in and to places in NZ we have not been before.

Lock down is allowing us to rethink how we holiday, thinking more local than global whilst our borders are closed; allowing us to see our own country and support our own businesses. This renewed local view of things is mirrored in seeing the country’s response to COVID-19 as reflective of our Kiwi values: integrity and care for others as well as going back to using Kiwi ingenuity for some things to get by. Experiencing Kiwi culture and our own backyard is now at the forefront of NZers minds.

The desire for the iconic Kiwi holiday of packing the car with the kids and dog and getting out of the city has never been stronger – how can your brand take advantage of this?


And when it comes to the future of travel, we are focused on cleanliness and cost

With international travel unavailable for the foreseeable future, we have set our eyes to domestic travel. In considering what is important for a domestic travel destination, the cleanliness and hygiene of accommodation is most important to us, followed by cost-effectiveness and less crowds.

Our ‘new normal’ is following through into our future plans, with a focus on hygiene and physical distancing, whilst watching costs in a time where financial security is a worry. There is a desire for relaxation, nature and outdoor experiences – getting back to the simpler things in life with those we care about; the things we may have taken for granted before.

There is less focus on material aspects of life and more on experiencing; getting outside of our homes and seeing something new – but still ensuring our health is the most important consideration.


Coming out of lockdown our craving for fast food surpasses our plans to visit friends and family!

There is nothing like taking something away from people to help them realise they had been taking it for granted – this is certainly the case with what people believe they are going to be rushing out to enjoy – with local fast food a priority, above visiting friends and family! The most popular planned takeaway of choice right now is McDonald’s, followed by KFC – hitting the feeling of nostalgia versus KFC that traditionally plays to indulgence – and providing an aspect of ordinary in times that feel anything but. In extraordinary times we are drawn to the ordinary – McDonald’s, fish and chips, KFC.

It is also clear that we are missing ‘our local’ – those places where we feel connected and part of the community. Those places where we feel human – with three-quarters of us planning to buy from locally owned restaurants/takeaway stores as soon as restrictions are lifted, and almost 80% of us intending to support local businesses when we can. NZers want to see their community succeed and intend to help out where they can. 


This is an opportunity for those businesses that have a local dimension to them to shine. From the big end of town such as McDonald’s and Mitre 10 that are locally owned and operated to the small end of town where they know you by name.


Next week, we'll be talking about...

  • Which brands do you believe are being authentic in their concern about their customers?
  • Are we happy to go without while the environment wins?
  • Online shopping/ groceries and the role of meal kits and delivery
  • How confident are we in our future, and what we believe we are going back to

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: Lockdown, COVID19, New Zealand, Travel & tourism, Quick service restaurants, Wellbeing