Kiwis seize the future, mostly

Kiwi consumers are embracing new technology and the internet in a greater range of ways and at a faster pace than a year ago, but corporates still need to cater to "technophobes", according to research company Roy Morgan.

The market researcher yesterday released its Digital Media and Behavioural Research, examining how Kiwis are engaging with the digital world through social media and smartphones, mobile banking, shopping and media.

Roy Morgan's head of client services, Howard Seccombe, said the research will surprise some corporates who struggle to understand some people still don't have smartphones or use the internet.

The company identified consumers in terms of how likely and quickly they were to adopt new technology, such as smartphones and iPads.

Of the 12,000 people surveyed, 42 per cent were late technology adopters.

They identified themselves as technophobes, "defined as anti-technology, risk averse, and a disadvantaged and/or older group", or technology traditionalists, "middle New Zealanders who buy technology once it becomes mainstream," said Seccombe.

"It's one of those marketing 101s. You've get to know where your customers fit on this adoption curve," he said.

However, the wave of technology early adopters defined as professionals 35 years or older with a passion for technology, and digital natives, is growing, he said.

About 31 per cent of Kiwis over 14 years use smartphones, a growth of 99 per cent or 374,000 people in the last 12 months. And 68 per cent or 752,000 smartphone users access the internet via their phone.

Given the growing prominence of smartphones, it's unsurprising social media use on these phones has shot up 27 per cent.

Two million New Zealanders, over half the population, used the social networking site Facebook in an average four-week period, up 31 per cent. Twitter wasn't as popular with only six per cent of Kiwis using the site but that has grown 31 per cent over the past year.

With almost two-thirds of New Zealanders spending $5.6 billion shopping online in the last year, the internet is an important sales channel. Dominant auction site Trade Me has become one of the country's largest shopping outlets, on par with The Warehouse. Two million kiwis visited Trade Me in an average four-week period compared to 1.95 million going to the The Warehouse.

Internet banking has become nearly as popular as visiting a branch. Nearly half (48 per cent) of Kiwis bank via the internet.

Readership of online news sites has risen 112 per cent over the past five years with newspapers succeeding in migrating audiences online. The growth is being driven by the more than half a million New Zealanders using computer tablets such as the iPad which allow them to view news websites in high resolution.

The Press