Data Democracy: Fighting the Good Fight

Check out Figure.NZ, a website devoted to data democracy. The aim is to make public, private and academic data about New Zealand free for all to use so that evidence-based decisions can improve lives. The website uses graphs to make the data come alive and illustrate trends that anyone can quickly understand. Sadly, the chart below demonstrates that things aren't so rosy at the moment in terms of the establishment of new businesses.

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Market Size and Market Value Tips

Market size info for small markets like New Zealand or niche products can be tricky to find. Sometimes, a best-efforts estimation is the only option. Here are some tips to help you if you need some market size or value data.

  1. Define your market first, i.e. by geography, technology, demography, use or sector and stick to it.

  2. Formulate how you will do your calculations. It should be a combination of desk research for any published information and primary analysis to back up any initial conclusions and for sense-making.

  3. Only use reputable data from secondary research. Look carefully at how they have come to their conclusions and double check it. Does it make sense? Is the data they have measured fit with your market parameters?

  4. When doing the desk research, pick up on any trend data that is coming up that will affect future market share, e.g. disruptors entering via new technology, changes in packaging needs, or trends in dietary preferences by customers. This information is valuable as an early-warning indicator of change in the market, allowing you to prepare.

  5. Once you’ve got some market size/ value numbers, make sure that you carefully cite the source data. If you need to do this exercise again, it’s a big help to have the framework of past calculations to start from, and then you can tweak if necessary.

  6. If statistical analysis isn’t your thing, then gather the data and get someone who knows how to forecast and model numbers.

  7. Be transparent - tell people it’s a ‘best efforts’ result, but show how you got to the conclusion you have and what the parameters were. Market size/value is often an educated guess as people, and the choices they make are often very fluid and can change overnight.

Great Business Research Tools

I often get asked for business research on the Australian market, and one of the first places I look is Trove, the National Library of Australia's catalogue of journals and news items, much of which is now digitised. All the important business or industry journals are indexed there, so it's easy to find that background info you're after. Want the New Zealand equivalent? It's INNZ.

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What Trends will Affect Consumers in 2018?


It’s that time of year when we look at consumer preference trends in 2017 and forecast what 2018 might be like. If you want some futuristic inspiration or need to get up-to-speed quick smart with what’s changing, try these reports on trends…

Looks like we're on the cusp of massive change! Email me ( if you need help keeping up with it all. We specialise in getting rid of the all the noise, so you only get the good, life-changing insight.


Market Research For Exporters

The New Zealand Story ( was created with extensive input from over 200 leaders from the primary sector, manufacturing, Māori, export industry, education and wider government services to promote New Zealand. Lots of good on-the-ground research here. One report about exporting to Japan reminds Kiwi's to highlight how we excel by being creative and ingenious in primary markets rather than telling them how good we are at supplying agricultural products.

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New Zealand Food and Beverage Market Research

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New Zealand is well known for the quality of the food it produces.

Surveys show that around 70% have a clear preference to buy food such as vegetables, meat, fruit and milk which are produced in New Zealand. Around 14% of Kiwis buy New Zealand food products because they are proud of what their compatriots have gown, but 59% strongly or somewhat agree that they buy local brands because they want to support NZ business. Sounds like identifying NZ made products is an important branding tool that food producers need to include on their packaging to attract consumers.  

Made in...NZ? Preferences for Local and Global Brands

Focusing on Price Limits Product Choice for Consumers

In 2015, New Zealand consumers were introduced to 13,984 new branded products. Nielsen found that only 64 (0.4%) had sales over $NZ1 million, with only 7 products being truly innovative new offerings. The rest were just line extensions. Manufacturers seem to be sticking to rather boring ways of growing their market share and in turn, reinforcing price sensitivity. However, smart, nimble small innovators have a chance to grab a slice of the market if they can look at changing demographics and target those with growing populations. Think Chinese, South Korean, Indian and Pacific Island peoples, as well as the growth in millennials and the over-50s.

How to use Academic Research for Market Intelligence

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Papers published in academic journals or theses give vigor and breadth to market validation. They do this by providing insight into new ideas, products or markets, particularly if it’s a narrow or obscure field of research or a cutting edge development.

Academic articles also can highlight who are the KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) on a topic. This is useful because it can identify centres of excellence or companies that are researching in that space. Conference presentations are also often covered, which help identify who else is researching your field of interest, what their findings are, what gaps in the research there are, and what their next research strands night be.

Good quality information is primarily available in English language journals, but many foreign language journals can carry vital information not found elsewhere. Crucially, they give insight into local issues, written by local researchers. These articles often have an English abstract, which can be useful. Sometimes it’s helpful to email the authors of these papers to see if they speak English, and are able to supply perhaps a presentation in English, which covers the material you need.

There’s a range of free sources of full-text articles or you can search for fee-based articles published in journals on a multitude of subjects. The most reputable journals will usually charge around $40-$50 each for an article. Here’s some of my favourite haunts:

NZResearch - New Zealand’s largest collection of theses. Here you will find research from students and staff, with most providing the full-text for free.

Google Scholar - A mixture of fee-based and free articles, plus patents and case law.

Microsoft Academic Research - This database can be searched in a variety of ways from discipline, organisation, or conference to name a few. Once you’ve found a citation of interest, you can see where the research has been cited by other researchers, all on one page.

One paper will often lead you onto another piece of relevant research, so remember to keep track of where you’ve been to avoid wasting time later, when you are trying to track down where you read something vital.

What are New Zealanders Online Shopping Habits?

In 2014, New Zealand online shopping patterns changed, reflecting pressure on time felt by consumers, improved logistics, globalisation and smartphone ownership.

  • NZ annual online spending is now equivalent to around 9.5% of traditional retail sales (excluding grocery and liquor).

  • More and more Kiwis are choosing to shop online at international merchants - around 43% of all online sales.

  • The number of international online purchases will be more than domestic online purchases within two years.

  • Daily online deals are on the way out, as consumers get tired/bored with them.

  • Smartphones are being used more to source and purchase online shopping deals.

To manage and exploit these changes, businesses need to :

  • Segment customers - target and treat them well.

  • Use payment systems such as Apple Pay.

  • Get customers to create content for them - reviews of products for example, which help convert sales.

  • Give customers info they can use via their smartphone. eg. QR codes, consumer reviews.