Kiwis love a bargain, but are we getting ripped off?

by Patrick O'Meara / 21 August, 2018
Photo: 123RF.

Photo: 123RF.

RelatedArticlesModule - Related

New Zealand supermarket shoppers are among the world's keenest on a cheap deal, spending $6 out of every $10 on groceries that are on special.

A Nielsen report found that was well ahead of other countries, with Australia spending $4 out of every $10 dollars on promotions, Britain $3 out of every $10, Germany $2 out of every $10 and France just a $1.80 out of $10.

"Shoppers are conditioned to look for and buy products on promotion," Nielsen's Brett Miller said in a statement. 

"This is not to say this cannot be changed or that this is a dynamic that's specific to the Kiwi shopper, it is simply a reflection of the current retailer and supplier promotion strategies."

The $20-billion dollar supermarket trade is wholly dominated by two players - Foodstuffs, which owns the Pak'n'Save and New World chains, and Australian-owned Countdown.

In a high-volume, low-margin sector, Foodstuffs' head of customer experience Emily Blumenthal said specials were essential in keeping people coming back.

"We definitely have a big proportion of the population that...love to go out and hunt for deals."

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said sales promotions and specials were part of the general retail environment.

"It's very hard to move consumers away from that.

"It's noticeable if you travel overseas just the lack of intensity around specials, especially intense specials when there has been deep discounting. You don't see that as much in other part of the world," Mr Wilkinson said.

RNZ spoke to supermarket shoppers who did look at the specials to try and make their dollar go a little further.

But Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson said special offers were used so frequently that the claimed savings were questionable.

"Effectively the special price is really the usual selling price so you're not getting a genuine saving."

The Commerce Commission in 2017 warned retailers about misleading discount sales and price promotions, and that it would prosecute those not following the rules.

Ms Wilson said Consumer NZ wanted regular price monitoring so households could have confidence they were not getting ripped off.

"Our price tracking in supermarkets has also found practically half the items in our basket of goods that we tracked were regularly on special."

"So the price problems we have seen in our past research are still evident in the market today we believe."

Ms Blumenthal insisted the industry had cleaned up its act, and specials were now typically a very good deal for shoppers.

This article was first published on Radio NZ.

Latest

Fine lines: New Anzac books and graphic novels for kids
105028 2019-04-25 00:00:00Z Books

Fine lines: New Anzac books and graphic novels for…

by Ann Packer

A telegraph “boy”, heroic animals and even shell-shock make for engaging reads for children.

Read more
Keeping up appearances: The challenging job of restoring NZ's lighthouses
104978 2019-04-25 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Keeping up appearances: The challenging job of res…

by Fiona Terry

Ensuring lighthouses stay “shipshape” isn’t a job for the faint-hearted.

Read more
The former major reuniting service medals with their rightful owners
105015 2019-04-25 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

The former major reuniting service medals with the…

by Fiona Terry

Service medals are being reunited with their rightful owners thanks to former major Ian Martyn and his determined research.

Read more
PM announces 'Christchurch Call' to end use of social media for terrorism
104952 2019-04-24 00:00:00Z Politics

PM announces 'Christchurch Call' to end use of soc…

by Noted

A meeting aims to see world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’.

Read more
Red Joan: Judi Dench almost saves Soviet spy story from tedium
104942 2019-04-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Red Joan: Judi Dench almost saves Soviet spy story…

by James Robins

The fictionalised account of a British woman who spied for the Soviet Union is stiflingly quaint.

Read more
What to watch on TV this Anzac Day
104749 2019-04-24 00:00:00Z Television

What to watch on TV this Anzac Day

by Fiona Rae

Māori TV once again devotes the day to Anzac programming, including a live broadcast from Gallipoli.

Read more
Twist in the tale: Why Margaret Mahy changed the end of her classic debut
104490 2019-04-24 00:00:00Z Books

Twist in the tale: Why Margaret Mahy changed the e…

by Sally Blundell

The two different endings of the beloved A Lion in the Meadow still provoke debate. So which is better, the 1969 original or the later, kinder one?

Read more
Mapping the second brain: The latest science on the effect of your gut bacteria
104884 2019-04-24 00:00:00Z Health

Mapping the second brain: The latest science on th…

by Donna Chisholm

Most of us have heard the five-plus-a-day message for fruit and vegetables. But new research into gut health suggests that advice may need tweaking.

Read more