The changing face of New Zealand and why it matters

  • Nielsen Demographics
  • January 14, 2019
  • Chris Coomer
The changing face of New Zealand and why it matters

While the 2018 census data isn’t due for release until 2019, marketers should be prepared to answer two key questions – 'are we adjusting to the changing needs of our target market?' and 'how do we acquire new customers that are gaining relevance in NZ?' With the help of Nielsen’s Consumer Media Insights (CMI) and NZ Stats population projections, marketers and brand owners can prepare for what the ‘new’ New Zealand will look like by developing products and services that cater to the needs of the changing consumer.

New Zealand's changing population: Three observations for marketers

  • The population is aging: While New Zealand’s average age has remained consistent since 2012, this is expected to change as the ‘over 55’ population is projected to grow from 27% to 30% of the overall population within the next 10 years (2028).
  • Changing Ethnicity: Statistics New Zealand projections indicate a major growth in diversity in New Zealand's population over the next 10 years, with Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indian, Other Asian, Samoan and Maori groups all set to experience between 18% to 58% population growth compared to just 11% for the overall population. With increasing cultural diversity, marketers and brand owners need to look deeper at how they will connect and engage with a variety of ethnic groups in the future.
  • Different strategies for Auckland: Since 2012, the percentage of those in Auckland who identify as NZ European declined by 3%, while Asian ethnic groups have increased by 13%. Now, two-thirds of all New Zealanders who identify as being Asian live in Auckland. With this change, marketers need to consider whether their strategies are suitable for Auckland and ensure that differing cultural needs are being catered for in their product mix and marketing messaging.

What this means for an example category like beverages: 

While changes to New Zealand’s population will impact all products and services, let’s consider what these changes mean for a category that concerns most Kiwis - ‘non-alcoholic Beverages’. By overlaying consumer ethnicity across the top seven non-alcoholic beverages New Zealanders have consumed in the last month, we begin to see some patterns emerge. The Asian population (540k people) is much more likely to have consumed a range of beverages across the last month. They are more likely to consume carbonated soft drinks, smoothies, iced drinks (e.g. iced coffee, tea, chocolate), and energy drinks in the last month. Conversely, New Zealanders of European origin are less likely to drink smoothies, iced drinks and energy drinks compared to all Kiwis.

A consumer-centric strategy:

With the changing population, there is a growing need to develop products and services to satisfy a wider array of consumer preferences. Companies now need to ask themselves:

  • “Which groups do our current products/services appeal to the most?”
  • “Are these group increasing/decreasing in size?”
  • “Are their preferences changing?”
  • “Are there new target customers that are increasing in relevance?”
  • “What media mix is required to reach these customers for either retention or acquisition?”

As New Zealand’s cultural mix continues to change, these are just some questions that marketers and brand owners need to ask when considering the future of their business.

  • Chris Coomer is a senior manager client development at Nielsen

This story was originally published at

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Whittaker's divides the court of public opinion – but all for a good cause

  • Advertising
  • February 22, 2019
  • Caitlin Salter
Whittaker's divides the court of public opinion – but all for a good cause

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