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Lifestyles Research Group

The New Zealand Consumer Lifestyles survey is a research programme that has been operational at the Department of Marketing, University of Otago, since 1979, with surveys conducted in 1979, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2013. These studies are designed to provide a contemporary understanding of the psychographic and behavioural patterns and trends of New Zealand consumers. The essential methods for the research programme are based on the work on Lifestyles Segmentation (Plummer 1974). For each survey approximately 600 individual questions are used to collect information from consumers about their attitudes, interests, opinions and activities. Over the iterations of the New Zealand Lifestyles survey programme, many questions have remained the same for comparison purposes, however new questions have been added and some of the questions have been updated to represent changing norms, technologies and behaviours.

The current Consumer Lifestyles study (Change, Challenge & Choice) is the sixth major survey carried out by the Consumer Lifestyles Group. As with previous iterations, the 2013 Lifestyle Study is designed to provide insights into the lifestyles, consumption patterns and choices, and behavioural trends of New Zealanders. Data was collected from 2036 individuals in late 2013 using an on-line panel questionnaire covering a range of psychographic, consumption and lifestyle questions. The study identifies seven lifestyle segments which are defined according to their psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural characteristics and named as: Progressives; Disengaged; Young Pleasure Seekers; New Greens; Success-Driven Extroverts; Conservative Quiet-lifers and Traditional Family Values. The discussion of the segments provides a number of new and useful insights into the contemporary world of the New Zealand consumer.

The Lifestyles Research Group is based in the Department of Marketing at the University of Otago and comprises Dr Leah Watkins, Associate Professor Rob Aitken, Dr Sanna Ganglmair-Wooliscroft, Emeritus Professor Rob Lawson, Dr Damien Mather, Dr Kirsten Robertson, and Dr John Williams.

Dr Leah Watkins’ area of academic interest lies in Marketing and Society, including research on culture, values, lifestyles, sustainable consumption, and consumer socialisation.

Professor Rob Aitken’s academic and research interests include marketing ethics, advertising, branding, consumer behaviour, service-dominant logic, corporate social responsibility, sustainable consumption, communications and the media.

Dr Damien Mather’s interests include brand trust, brand crises and corporate apologies, brand performance methodologies, brand extensions, brand share predictive models, best-worst scaling methodology, acceptance of GM foods, food labelling, county-of-origin and made-in labelling, eco-social conscientious consumption, data mining and branding in China.

Associate Professor Kirsten Roberston’s research interests include consumer behaviour and public policy, in particular in relation to food, alcohol, and violence.

Dr John Williams’ research interests include Macromarketing, Marketing Theory, Marketing Ethics and research design and quantitative data analysis.

Related Publications:

Aitken, R. and Watkins, L. (2016) ‘Harm or Good?’: Consumer Perceptions of Corporate Strategic Giving In Schools Journal of Consumer Affairs.

Aitken, R & Watkins, L. (2016) “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: The Cost of Marketing in Schools”. New Zealand Principal. Vol 31, No. 1, pp 29-32.

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., Hinder, C., Lawson, R., Mather, D., Paul, A., Robertson, K., and Williams, J. (2015). The New Zealand Consumer Lifestyle Segments. New Zealand Sociology 30:1 pp111-130.

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., & Mather, D. (2015). “Conscientious Consumers: A Relationship between Moral Foundations, Political Orientation and Sustainable Consumption”, Journal of Cleaner Production. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.06.009

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., Lawson, R., Mather, D., Robertson, K., and Williams, J. (2015). Change, Challenge and Choice: A New Zealand Consumer Lifestyles Study. [ISBN: 978-1-877156-44-1]

Read New Zealand Consumer Lifestyles Report 2015 Change, Challenge and Choice: A New Zealand Consumer Lifestyles Study or via the  Otago University Research Archive