New Zealand Consumers are Scrutinizing Their FMCG Spend as Cost of Living Rises

Image: Anna Shvets via Pexels
The research found that 58 percent of respondents are planning to stop buying everyday luxury items, and 47 percent plan to adopt more home brands.

JCDecaux New Zealand has released the results of its latest IRIS audience research, which reveals consumers are scrutinizing their FMCG spending as the cost of living rises and household budgets are increasingly under more pressure.

The research was conducted in May 2022 from 600 consumers nationwide, sourced from a nationally representative Pureprofile panel.

“‘Our Shopping List Status’ research found that New Zealanders are tightening the purse strings, with 91 percent noticing household budgets being stretched and a quarter of respondents reporting that they are actively cutting back,” said Victoria Parsons, Senior Strategy and Insights Manager JCDecaux New Zealand.


“For New Zealanders noting reduced disposable incomes, grocery shopping is an easy place to make cuts. Shoppers are increasingly paying close attention to what goes onto lists and intro trolleys. It is interesting to understand consumer perceptions as to what is a necessity and what is a luxury; we see consumers justifying brand purchases as necessary for quite personal reasons.

“Out-of-Home can be a powerful platform to impact and influence in-store and online shoppers throughout the day while they are mentally planning their shopping lists. 83 per cent of survey participants agree that brands that advertise on Large Format are quality brands, which is key for consumers to overcome price sensitivity and avoid replacement by home brands.”

Brands deemed an everyday luxury such as are most at risk to spending cuts with the research showing: 

  • 58 percent of respondents are planning to stop buying everyday luxury items
  • 47 percent of respondents plan to adopt more home brands
  • 40 percent of respondents will only buy trusted brands
  • 77 percent of respondents claim price is the main consideration when choosing between similar products.

“What consumers deem an everyday luxury is interesting,” said Gary Rosewarne, Sales Director JCDecaux New Zealand.


“Respondents told us items such as coffee and tea, bread, self-care and dairy are non-negotiable in terms of buying favourite or quality brands, whereas for canned and frozen goods, and cleaning products, people are shopping the category based on price. Luxury does not mean premium, it means moments where you expect quality FMCG experiences and won’t trade down – you justify the price premium.

“The research concludes that as inflationary pressures increase – due to growing interest rates and higher prices on most things we consume – brands should be focusing on protecting purchase intent and quality perceptions. Brands can get ahead of changes to consumer spending by communicating product benefits through Out-of-Home advertising, giving consumers confidence to continue buying quality brands.”

The research also reveals that the emotion or promise of brands can overcome price sensitivity. Consumers seek validation to define which brands remain as necessities on shopping lists. Brands without meaningful quality cues or unique brand benefits may be swapped out for cheaper alternatives.

According to the results, the traditional notion of the household shopper no longer applies. Nearly all New Zealanders are household shoppers, whether all the time or occasionally. Women still form the majority of main shoppers, while men have increasing influence, with 43 percent identifying as the main shopper.

Key insights for New Zealand marketers include:

  • Kiwis are planning budget changes: everyday luxury brands without strong emotional reasons to buy are most at risk. Marketers should communicate their product’s benefits, particularly taste and quality, to give consumers confidence to continue buying quality brands.
  • People tend to list products, not brands on shopping lists: Certain brands have mental availability in a category – it doesn’t mean someone is shopping the entire category, it means considering the 2 – 3 brands people typically buy and potentially comparing these with specials.
  • People are thinking about upcoming meals while they are driving. Large Format Out-of-Home impacts audiences on obligatory journeys, when they are making mental shopping lists of the things they need.
  • Everyone is a household shopper: to grow penetration, FMCG marketers should be aiming to drive mass reach among all shoppers.
  • Online grocery shopping is growing: it’s also more considered and less impulsive than in-store shopping. FMCG marketers must consider how they reach and influence online shoppers, who typically tend to be younger. Out-of-Home is an effective channel to reach younger audiences, who spend more time out-and-about.
  • Advertising during difficult times drives higher sales: advertisers need to keep advertising, even when times are tough.

Access a copy of the research here.  

Image: Anna Shvets via Pexels

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