Revealed! New Zealand’s trustiest, favouritest and choicest brands

As someone (it’s usually Einstein) may have once said, perception is nine tenths of the marketing law. And the results of the third Attitude New Zealand survey, which delved into the strange and mysterious world of the Kiwi psyche, have shed some light on the perceptions around the nation’s brands, as well as revealing plenty of other interesting consumer and social trends that may have implications for marketers.

“Over 1000 New Zealanders aged between 15 and 65 plus with annual incomes ranging from less than $20,000 to more than $100,000 were surveyed and asked to type in who they felt was the most trusted New Zealand business” says Perceptive chief executive Chris Pescott. “We don’t provide limits or lists, so what the people say, we record. It’s the most natural and accurate way to do it.”

The survey showed that Kiwi Bank can now claim the honor of being the most trusted business in New Zealand, a fairly remarkable achievement given the recent ‘only just ranked above mud’ perception of financial institutions around the world after the dirty old GFC.

Of all the brands people are aware of, Kiwibank was most trusted (8%), which is similar to the November survey (7%), followed by Air New Zealand (6%), Toyota (5%) and ASB (5%). And when it comes to age, Kiwibank is clearly more trusted by older New Zealanders, particularly from age 55 and above, and ASB by 15-24 year olds (11%).

The Kiwi Bank brand was also listed as the highest “top of mind” bank, which is a position that has been claimed momentarily by Westpac and ASB over the past 18 months. Other top of mind brands and favourites mentioned were similar to what has been found in the past, such as ASB, Westpac, Air New Zealand, Farmers, Glassons, Hallensteins, Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman, Southern Cross, Toyota and McDonald’s (see below for a long list of mind-toppers, favourites and other trends).

As far as retailers are concerned, almost two-thirds of New Zealanders claimed the economic climate has influenced them enough to switch from buying branded products to house brand products in their day to day shop. Not all New Zealanders are confident that the recession is over, either, with confidence levels being at very similar levels to six months ago, with 46 percent still not confident it is over, and over a third being neutral (37 percent).

Habits around paying off debt and spending also remain similar to what they were in November 2009, with two in five New Zealanders intending to purchase something valued at over $2000 in the next six months, most commonly cars, holidays and house maintenance/renovations. This desire for big-ticket items is likely to increase in the lead-up to the GST rise.

Saving ability, spending power and retirement security continue to be the top three stressors for respondents, with women still slightly more stressed than men. Retirement security is a particular worry for those aged 35-64 years, while job security concerns New Zealanders aged 45-54 years and 15-24 year olds are stressed about their education.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, are some choice take-outs from the Attitude New Zealand survey:


What New Zealand business do you most feel you can trust? Consistent with previous Attitude NZ surveys, more than a third could not name a business they trust (38%), either because they do not trust any or they couldn’t think of one. Kiwibank (12%) tops the list, followed by The Warehouse (4%), and banks in general (2%). Among many of the other businesses listed, individual banks such as BNZ, ASB, TSB and National bank were mentioned. These findings are very similar to the previous Attitude NZ surveys, although the proportion indicating they trust banks in general has decreased, with Kiwibank increasing. Kiwibank is trusted by more New Zealanders aged 55 and over.

What New Zealand Healthcare Provider do you most feel you can trust? More than half of the New Zealanders surveyed could not name a trusted healthcare provider (53%). Southern Cross was the most frequently mentioned trusted provider (18%), followed by hospitals / DHB’s / the public health system in general (12%), and the family doctor / GP / local medical centres (10%). More than a quarter of New Zealanders aged 65 and over trust the public health system (25%).

Overall, what level of trust do you have in New Zealand businesses? More New Zealanders trust businesses (43%) than those who do not (20%), which are similar to what was found six months ago.

Top of Mind Brands

Banks: Kiwibank (22%), ASB (20%) and Westpac (16%) continue to be the three brands that are the most frequently recalled banks. ASB continues to stand out in the minds of New Zealanders aged 15-24 (33%).

Airline: Air New Zealand has been the dominant airline recalled in the past two Attitude NZ surveys and continues to be top of mind for the majority of New Zealanders (80%). Other airlines were mentioned by less than 5%.

Fashion: For one in five New Zealanders, Farmers is top of mind when it comes to retail fashion brands (21%), followed by Glassons (14%), and Hallensteins (11%). As would be expected, more females mentioned Glassons (20%) and more males mentioned Hallensteins (23%). Almost twice the proportion of people aged 65 or over mentioned Farmers (39%), with Glassons being dominant among the younger age groups (24% of 15-24 year olds and 23% of 25-34 year olds).

Electronics and whiteware: when it comes to top of mind brands for electronics and whiteware, slightly more than one in four mentioned Noel Leeming (28%), with a further one in four recalling Harvey Norman (24%). Noel Leeming was more frequently mentioned by some of the older age groups, notably 45-54 year olds (35%) and those 65 and over (35%). Harvey Norman seems to dominate in the minds of New Zealanders aged 25-34 years in particular (33%), with Dick Smith being most popular for the younger group, 15-24 year olds (14%).

Power: The three most frequently recalled power company brands are Genesis (22%), Contact (21%), and Mercury (18%). These are consistent with findings in the last two Attitude NZ surveys. One clear difference when it comes to age is that a much higher proportion of New Zealanders aged 25-34 years mentioned Genesis (30%).

Healthcare: Southern Cross (47%) continues to dominate healthcare brands, which is also the most frequently mentioned trusted healthcare provider (see graph xx What New Zealand Healthcare Provider do you most feel you can trust?), and has been the most recalled brand in the past two surveys. Other brands that were mentioned were ones that could be classified as hospitals or DHB’s (18%), and local doctors, GP’s or medical centres (11%).

Motor vehicle: More than one in four New Zealanders mentioned Toyota (28%) for motor vehicle brands, which is consistent across the last two Attitude NZ surveys. Ford (12%), Nissan (10%) and Holden (10%) round out the top four top of mind motor vehicle brands.

University: The most frequently mentioned university was Auckland (20%), followed by Otago (16%), and Massey (15%) which is consistent with previous findings.

Fast Food: McDonald’s continues to dominate as the most recalled fast food brand, although it is down slightly from 49% in the past Attitude NZ surveys to 44%. Other brands are nowhere near this, with KFC (15%), Burger King (10%), and Subway (9%) making up the top four.

Mobile Phone Network: Vodafone continues to win the battle of the mobile phone networks with half of New Zealanders thinking of this brand first (50%), followed by Telecom (36%). In the last Attitude NZ survey in November 2009, new player to the market, 2 Degrees was mentioned by 7% of New Zealanders; this has now increased to 12%.

Internet Service Provider: continuing the trend from the previous two Attitude NZ surveys, Telecom tops all other ISP brands with New Zealanders either recalling Telecom itself (30%), or Xtra (11%). Telstra Clear (12%) and Slingshot (11%) were mentioned by similar proportions.

Supermarket: Almost a third of New Zealanders mentioned Pak’n Save (32%), Countdown (28%) or New World (26%) supermarket brands. Compared to the previous two Attitude NZ surveys, the results are similar, although Countdown has overtaken New World into second place. New World clearly dominates in the minds of those aged 65 or over with 42% mentioned this supermarket brand, much higher than the total of 26%.

Alcohol: Beer brands such as Tui (10%), Speights (10%), and Lion (7%) continue to dominate the alcohol brands, and even though slightly more males mentioned these, recall of these brands among females was still higher than any other brands. When it comes to age group, some brands clearly dominate with certain ages, such as Tui for those aged 55-64 years (17%), and Lion with 45-54 year olds (16%).

Petrol: Two in five New Zealanders mentioned Shell when it comes to the top petrol brand (43%), up only a few percent from previous surveys. Recall of BP is also up by a couple of percent on last year’s findings, now at 34%. Age spikes can be seen with more than half of New Zealanders aged 55-64 (57%) recalling Shell, and 47% of 15-24 year olds mentioning BP.


TV channel: In the last two Attitude NZ surveys, the three mainstream TV channels were the most favoured, with little change being seen in this survey; TV2 (21%) came out on top, followed by TV1 (20%), then TV3 (15%). When it comes to gender, TV2 is more of a favourite for females (27%), with differences in the age groups evident. For instance, TV2 is favoured by the younger age groups, especially those between 15-34 years, and TV1 by those aged 55 and over.

TV Programme: The favourite TV programmes are mainly those on the favourite channels mentioned previously (xx What is your favourite – TV Channel). The news (8%), Coronation Street (7%), and Shortland Street (6%) are the top three, with more males liking the news (10%), and more females preferring Coronation Street (10%), and Shortland Street (10%). Consistent with favourite TV channels are the differences in age groups with these favourite programs. More New Zealanders aged 15-24 year old like Shortland Street (13%), and more aged 55 and over like Coronation Street.

News source: New Zealanders clearly prefer to get their news from the TV, with TV1 News (30%) being the top source, followed closely by TV3 News (27%). These results are consistent with the last two Attitude NZ surveys, although the proportions rating TV1 as favourite have decreased slightly, down from 36% a year ago. TV1 News is more of a favourite for the older age groups, whereas TV3 dominates for the younger ages.

Radio Station: The Rock is the top of the list for favourite radio stations (13%), followed by More FM (8%), ZM (8%), The Edge (7%), and Classic Hits (7%). Clear listening preferences among the genders to some extent, and especially the ages, can be seen. The Rock and The Edge dominate in the younger markets, with More FM, ZM and Classic Hits being favourites among mid age groups, and Newstalk ZB and National stations a favourite for the older ages

Retail Store: For a quarter of New Zealanders, The Warehouse is their favourite retail store (25%), with a further 20% preferring Farmers, which is consistent with findings from May and November 2009. Less than 10% mentioned any other store as their favourite

Online Retailer: Trade Me continues to dominate in the online retailer space at 41% which is the same as in November 2009, with the proportion liking Trade Me decreasing as age increases.

Fast Food Chain: McDonalds is the favourite fast food chain for almost a third of New Zealanders (29%), followed by KFC (19%), Burger King (15%), and Subway (14%).

Website: As well as being the favourite online retailer, Trade Me is mentioned as being a favourite website by 21% of New Zealanders, followed by Google (15%), Facebook (8%), and Stuff (7%). Trade Me is a particular favourite for those aged 25-34 years (27%), and Google is for 65 year olds and over (24%).

Social Media Site: More than three-quarters of New Zealanders indicated the Facebook is their favourite social media site (79%). Less than 2% mentioned any of the other sites.

Other trends

Are you putting more effort into becoming debt free? The results for whether New Zealanders are putting more effort into becoming debt free show no differences to the Attitude NZ survey run in November 2009 in which this question was asked for the first time. The majority of New Zealanders are putting more effort into becoming debt free (63%), with a quarter already being debt free (24%). Slightly more females are doing more to become debt free (66%), as are those aged between 25 to 54 years in particular. The younger and older age groups are more likely to be the ones that are already debt free, and it can be assumed that they either haven’t entered the debt cycle yet (younger), or have done so and paid off that debt (retirees).

Has the recession negatively affected travel and holidays for you? An almost even split of New Zealanders said the recession either has had a negative effect on their travel plans (49%), or it hasn’t (51%). Slightly more females said it has (52%), as did noticeably more people aged 45-54 years (60%).

Has your diet changed over the past six months? There have been some changes in New Zealanders dietary habits in the past six months. Almost a third are eating more fruit and vegetables (31%), and eating more meals at home (30%). Less than 10% are eating more red meat, chicken and fish (9%), takeaways (7%), and snacks, chips and lollies (7%). It is of these latter two food items that over half of all New Zealanders surveyed are eating less of (55% and 50% respectively).

How confident are you that the recession is over? When New Zealanders were first asked in the November 2009 Attitude NZ survey how confident they are that the recession is over, more than half were not confident (53%), with only 16% having some confidence it is over. The results six months on show only a slight shift in confidence. Fewer than half are not confident that the recession is over (46%), with 17% confident that it is. The main shift can be seen in those who are neutral, now at 37% compared to 31% six months ago, indicating that perhaps there is still some uncertainty where the recession is concerned. Males are only slightly more confident than females that the recession is over. More New Zealanders aged between 45-64 years are not confident it is over, with more of the younger age groups (particularly under 35 years) being neutral, and more of those aged 65 and over confident that it is over.

Do you have any planned purchases in the next six months of over $2000 and if so what are they? The majority of New Zealanders do not have plans to spend over $2000 on anything in the next six months (60%). The main big spend items will be cars (13%), holidays (9%), and house renovations or maintenance (7%), which are similar to what has been found in the two previous surveys.

Has the economic climate influenced you to switch from branded products to house brand products? Almost two-thirds of New Zealanders indicated that the economic climate has influenced them to switch from branded products to house brand products (63.8%). Less than 10% have done so for everything they buy (7%), with most doing so for some products only (57%). The age group in which the highest proportion has replaced everything they buy with house brand products are those aged 55-64 years (15%).

What social media do you use? Three quarters of New Zealanders use some form of social media, with the most popular site being Facebook (71%), which is most popular among the younger age groups. A quarter are not using any form, with this increasing from 3% of 15-24 year olds not using any, up to 47% of those aged 65 and over not doing so.

Have you bought and paid for something online with your credit card in the past 6 months? Three out of four New Zealanders have bought and paid for something online with their credit card in the last six months, which is the same result for the past two Attitude NZ surveys.

Do you trust e-commerce sites? Two-thirds of New Zealanders have trust in e-commerce sites (67%), up slightly from the May 2009 (64%) and November 2009 (63%) Attitude NZ. The trend shows that as age increases, the proportion having trust in e-commerce sites decreases, however interestingly, 69% of New Zealanders aged 65 and over have trust, second only to those aged 15-24 years (75%).

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