New Zealand's Internet insights 2020

Each year we fund research about Kiwis' attitudes to the Internet. This year we commissioned market research company Colmar Brunton to survey New Zealanders about their use, benefits, concerns, and fears regarding the Internet. So what does the research tell us this year?

Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 appears to have had an impact on the state of the Internet in New Zealand during 2020 in several ways.

Increase in perceived social benefits
Working from home
Shopping online
Connecting with friends and family
Increase in fibre and high-speed Internet connections
Concern for Internet connection in remote areas and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds
“[I use the Internet for] Ordering groceries online, checking out products before going to shops to buy them to limit the time spent in contact with others, checking out the latest COVID-19 news and information, and contacting our son and his partner and other family overseas.“
96% New Zealand Internet users online daily

Use of the

Having access to the Internet is more important than ever with over 96% of New Zealand Internet users using it on a daily basis in their home, and seven out of ten Internet users using it daily at work.

70% say they use the Internet at work daily

New Zealanders' concerns

The most significant increases in areas of the Internet New Zealanders are extremely concerned about include:

Children accessing inappropriate content
Cyber bullying
Misleading information and online conspiracy theories
Extremist & hate speech forums
58% Decided not to use an online service because of security or privacy concerns
46% Extremely/very concerned

Privacy and security

The level of concern around privacy and security has also increased in the last year, especially for those who already have a high level of concern.

“I think privacy, safety and security online is very concerning but I've just come to accept that it's the price we pay for all the benefits.”

How do New Zealanders use the Internet?

The total number of people accessing the Internet at home, at work, and using public wifi at least once daily has increased in 2020 over 2019.

The average number of times people are using the Internet each week has increased in 2020 at work & home and remained the same on public wifi.

Location of Internet usage

Social channels average weekly use

Average weekly use of social media channels either fell or remained the comparable for everything in 2020 except WhatsApp, which had a 25% increase from 2019.


Fibre connection vs wireless

There is an upward trend in having a fibre connection at home (to the detriment of the other types of Internet connections).

Fibre 58% ADSL & VDSL 14% ? 4% 1% Satellite Wireless broadband 24%
“WFH was made possible and easier due to fibre being installed in my area post lockdown one. For the initial lockdown I was hot-spotting using my phone.”

Activities performed using the Internet

Forty-five percent of consumers have found a job online, and around a third have found a house to buy or rent.

Found a job
Found a house to buy
Found a house to rent
Completed education
Found a partner
Shopping online
Increase of
Working from home
Increase of
Using cloud storage
Increase of

Benefits of the Internet

Possibly due to circumstances around COVID-19 this year, New Zealanders have rated a number of key social benefits of the Internet higher than in previous years.

This includes online shopping, working from home, and cloud storage, among others.

The exception to this is the value of access to information, which decreased significantly. This could indicate a correlation between New Zealanders’ increase in concern about information accuracy (fake news) and their level of trust in online information.

More about the benefits of the Internet

Flexible working

COVID-19, and the subsequent lockdowns, have brought new opportunities for some people to work from home. This research also highlights barriers which are stopping some flexibility.

60% of participants said their work could be done from home if needed.
51% of those participants would like to be able to work from home more frequently in the future.
However, there are still things getting in the way of working from home
Too many face to face meetings
Flexible working options not offered
Internet not fast enough
Extremist views / hate speech
Increase of
Wrong or misleading information
Increase of
Children accessing inappropriate content
Increase of

Concerns and safety

The number of New Zealanders who said they were “extremely concerned” increased in several areas in 2020. Three quarters of kiwis are either extremely concerned or very concerned about what children access on the Internet.

Other major areas of concern include cyber bullying and privacy and security of data.

However, the biggest increase in those who are extremely concerned was in the Internet’s potential use as a forum for extremist views or hate speech.

More about concerns and safety

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