Results of the New Zealand Consumer Survey, conducted every two years by MBIE’s Consumer Protection team, are available now.

This nationally representative survey asked 1,734 New Zealanders 18 years or over what they know about their consumer rights and their experiences dealing with problems. The 2020 survey is the third in the series which also enables reporting on emerging trends.

Some of the key findings are that: 

  • Awareness of consumer rights and laws remains high and consumers’ tested knowledge of their rights has increased over the past two years. Ninety-four percent of consumers are aware that laws exist to protect their consumer rights, similar to 2018 and 2016. When tested with true/false statements around consumer purchasing rights, more consumers answered at least 6 correct than in 2018 (26% in 2020 compared to 19% in 2018).
  • Consumers are increasingly distrustful of the information provided by salespeople but are becoming more likely to seek their own consumer information and advice. Only 41% of consumers now agree that they trust the information provided by salespeople, down from 52% in 2018 and 56% in 2016. However, consumers are more proactive. For example 67% (up from 61% in 2018 and 57% in 2016) seek out extra information (such as online reviews), 30% used at least one agency that provides consumer support and advice in 2020 (compared to 23% in 2018).
  • Half of consumers experienced a problem with something they purchased in the past two years. COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns had an impact on consumer problems. Twenty-six percent of those who experienced a consumer issue said COVID-19 or the lockdown caused the problem or made it worse. Notably, COVID-19 was more likely to have impacted travel and holiday services over other product or service categories.
  • More consumers are taking action to try and resolve their consumer problems. In 2020, 73% of consumers took action to try and resolve their most recent problem – and this has been trending upwards since 2016 (68%).
  • Fewer consumers are aware of their rights when shopping online, and problems are increasingly resulting from online purchases. Only 28% of consumers feel they know at least a moderate amount about their rights online (compared to 45% about their rights in general). Purchases that resulted in a problem were almost twice as likely to have been purchased online in 2020 compared to 2016 (29% compared to 16%).

Read the full survey results and supporting infographic on the MBIE website: 

New Zealand consumer surveys(external link) — Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment