Dollars and sense: How Covid has shaped our spending

State of the Neighbourhood Header

The pandemic has forced us to look more closely at our spending habits and consider the impact of where and how we’re spending our hard-earned dollars. 

Supporting local business, shopping sustainably and buying only what’s needed are the key trends to come out of Neighbourly’s State of the Neighbourhood | Te Āhua o ngā Hapori survey. 

Neighbourly is a proudly Kiwi-owned social impact platform for individuals and communities to interact with each other. 

The survey explored how the pandemic had shaped the way Kiwis live, shop and interact with their community, gathering more than 7,000 responses from across the motu.  It’s the first in a new insights series that seeks to understand the ‘neighbourliness’ of New Zealanders in an era of social distancing. 

Ninety-six percent agree shopping locally is important, and more than half (54%) said the pandemic has seen them make more of an effort to spend at businesses closer to home. A local business was defined as one being located within a 5-10km radius. Women are more likely to spend locally than men (59% vs 46%).

When it comes to shopping sustainably, two in three report making an effort to only buy things they really need. Sixty percent are looking for products that can be recycled or have recycled packaging. 

Older respondents (55+) make more effort to buy products produced locally or only buy what they need, whereas younger people are far more likely to buy second hand, repurposed or recycled items and also travel to the shops by bike, public transport or foot.

And again it’s women who are shopping with the climate in mind – with men three times more likely to say they’re not concerned about sustainability. 

Sarah Moore, Head of Neighbourly, says the results demonstrate a shift that puts local at the heart of our shopping habits. 

“Kiwis have taken a fresh look at the businesses around them, particularly during the lockdown periods,” she says. “Alongside our organisations and our neighbours, local businesses help make up our community fabric; they’re essential to how we live and operate within our neighbourhoods. Spending dollars closer to home keeps the community economy ticking.” 

State of the Neighbourhood is powered by NowNext, a Stuff-owned survey tool to deeply understand how New Zealanders think. The survey ran for two and a half weeks across Neighbourly and Stuff, attracting responses from 7,300 participants. Find out more at

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