New Zealand's Internet insights 2021

Each year we fund research about New Zealanders' 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?

Growing concern of the content online

There is a continued increase of New Zealanders who are concerned with the content available online in a number of ways.

Misleading and damaging content
Online conspiracy theories
Extremist material and hate speech
“Extremely concerned” or “very concerned” about young children being able to access inappropriate content.
“Extremely concerned” or “very concerned” about the Internet being used to share dangerous or discriminatory messages about individuals, groups, or communities.

Privacy and security

The number / percentage of people that are “extremely concerned” about online privacy and security has risen for the second year in a row.

Online crime
Personal data
Identity theft
Location tracking
Significant increases in use of two-factor or multi-factor authentication on any or all accounts, unique passwords for every online service, a password manager.
[For information about keeping safe and secure online] “I talk to a computer technician I know.”
79% Use at least one of the four Meta Platform apps daily

Use of the

Having access to the Internet is more important than ever with over 93% of participants using it on a daily basis in their home, and 66% using the Internet daily at work. 67% of participants use Facebook at least once a day.

93% are online daily in their home
66% use the Internet at work daily

New Zealanders' concerns

There have been significant increases in people being “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” that the Internet is a forum for wrong or misleading information, extremist material and hate speech, and online conspiracy theories.

Enabling young children to access inappropriate content remains the number one concern with 74% of people very concerned or extremely concerned.

Other top concerns are cyber bullying 71%, security of personal data 69%, and online crime 68%. And, two thirds of New Zealanders (66%) have chosen not to use at least one online service because of security or privacy concerns in the past 12 months, which is an increase of 8% compared to last year.

However, the majority of people (86%) continue to think that the positives of the Internet outweigh the negatives.

66% Decided not to use an online service due to security or privacy concerns
74% Very concerned or extremely concerned with young children accessing inappropriate content.
86% Think the benefits of the internet outweigh the negatives.

How do New Zealanders use the Internet?

Ninety-three percent of participants use the Internet at least once a day at home, and two thirds use it as often at work.

Location of Internet usage

Social channels average weekly use

Facebook is by far the most frequently accessed communication or social media channel, with two thirds of New Zealanders using it daily. The next most frequently used are SMS Texts and Facebook Messenger.


Fibre connection vs wireless

Home Fibre connections continue to increase with six in ten New Zealanders having this type of Internet connection.

Fibre 62% ADSL & VDSL 12% ? 4% 1% Satellite Wireless broadband 20%

Activities performed using the Internet

The activities people are doing online are fairly consistent to previous years.

Found a job
Found a house to buy
Found a house to rent
Completed education
Found a partner

Benefits of the Internet

Can work from
Access to
Meet new
people online
of people

While the top three key social benefits that New Zealanders perceive the Internet provides remain the same, there has been a slight drop to each. These are: facilitates communication with friends and family, providing access to information, and online shopping.

There has also been a significant decrease in the perceived benefit of meeting new people online.

However, there has been an upward trend in people seeing the Internet as a way to connect communities.

Flexible working

Unsurprisingly, given ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns, there's an increase in the frequency people work from home (amongst those who can work from home).

of participants said their work could be done from home if needed.
of those that can work from home say that they do all the time.
of those participants would like to be able to work from home more frequently in the future.

of those who do the type of work which allows them to work from home would consider moving somewhere else in New Zealand if they could relocate their current job.

Of those who would consider relocating; the most common reasons are:

  • 46% More affordable housing
  • 44% More affordable lifestyle
  • 43% Better lifestyle
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
If we overcome these we could…
Reduce traffic
Reduce pollution
Live further away from
centres reducing
house costs

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