Located in the Pacific Ocean’s southern area about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away from major trading partner Australia, New Zealand places number 31 among the world’s richest economies in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.
New Zealand is home to 4.8 million people compared to 146.2 million residents in Australia.
The 100 most valuable consumer products imported into New Zealand in 2020 attracted a subtotal US$18.3 billion worth of international spending. That consumer-specific dollar amount represents 49.4% of the overall value of all goods imported into New Zealand. The Oceanic nation’s overall amount for imported products totaled $37.1 billion worth of spending.
Among the most valuable consumer products imported into New Zealand during 2020 were: cars; phones including smartphones; computers; trucks; and medications.
The total dollar amount for the top 100 imported consumer products decreased by -9.9% from 2019 to 2020 for New Zealand. The Oceanic island’s top 100 consumer metric was less severe than the -12.4% decline for all of New Zealand’s imported goods for the year.
New Zealand’s demand for imported consumer products also fell more than the global average, which was a drop of -8.2% from 2019 to 2020 for all importing countries.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by New Zealand, 33 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas 77 declined.
Changes in New Zealandic consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
New Zealand’s Top Consumer Imports List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases New Zealand’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|2||Processed petroleum oils||$1,491,376,000||-15.1%||CP|
|4||Computers, optical readers||$965,627,000||+3.3%||SP|
|7||Other food preparations||$414,783,000||-6.4%||CP|
|10||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$237,560,000||-2.9%||CP|
|11||Miscellaneous plastic items||$236,979,000||+14.2%||CP|
|13||Rubber tires (new)||$220,212,000||-16.4%||SP|
|14||Miscellaneous textile items||$218,752,000||+220.6%||SP|
|16||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$200,394,000||+7.1%||SP|
|17||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$199,823,000||-10.9%||SP|
|18||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$198,293,000||-0.4%||SY|
|19||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$196,208,000||+1.6%||CP|
|23||Electrical converters/power units||$168,630,000||+0.02%||SP|
|24||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$167,268,000||+0.2%||CP|
|27||Other organic cleaning preparations||$157,377,000||+19.5%||CP|
|32||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$149,595,000||-13.4%||SP|
|33||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$147,791,000||-5.7%||SP|
|39||Cases, handbags, wallets||$126,497,000||-36.4%||SP|
|41||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$125,064,000||-5.5%||CP|
|43||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$116,591,000||-14.7%||SP|
|44||Yachts, canoes, row boats||$116,308,000||-14.6%||SP|
|45||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$112,381,000||-6.4%||SP|
|46||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$110,967,000||-12.5%||SY|
|48||Waters with added sugar||$107,597,000||+3.8%||CP|
|49||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$101,030,000||-17.9%||SP|
|50||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$100,825,000||-8.4%||SP|
|51||Computer parts, accessories||$99,700,000||+1.2%||SP|
|52||Sauces, mixed condiments, seasoning||$98,655,000||-3.3%||CP|
|53||Household base metal mountings||$95,210,000||-3.6%||SY|
|54||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$91,321,000||-19.6%||SP|
|56||Unrecorded sound media||$90,898,000||-8.9%||SP|
|57||Video console games, table games||$90,103,000||-4.7%||SP|
|59||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$85,671,000||-9.1%||SP|
|60||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$84,266,000||-1.8%||SP|
|62||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$83,125,000||+2.7%||CP|
|63||Sugar (cane or beet)||$82,580,000||-1%||CP|
|64||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$82,492,000||+46.3%||SP|
|66||Tissues, napkins, toilet paper||$78,285,000||+12.2%||CP|
|69||Printed books, brochures||$73,232,000||-11.6%||SP|
|71||Electric storage batteries||$72,248,000||-2.2%||SY|
|72||Glass bottles, other containers||$71,058,000||-8.9%||SP|
|76||Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings||$67,564,000||-15.7%||SP|
|78||Vulcanized rubber items||$67,058,000||-5.5%||SP|
|79||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$65,912,000||+7.9%||CP|
|80||Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)||$65,091,000||-5.5%||CP|
|83||Vulcanized rubber apparel||$61,807,000||+102.8%||SP|
|85||Prepared cereal foods||$59,131,000||+7.6%||CP|
|86||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$58,932,000||-13%||SP|
|87||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$58,443,000||-10.8%||CP|
|89||Caps, lids, corks, pouring stoppers||$51,981,000||+7.2%||SP|
|90||Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates||$51,653,000||+8.3%||CP|
|92||Malt extract, food preparations||$50,967,000||+19.4%||CP|
|94||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$49,522,000||-21.8%||SP|
|96||Electric generating sets, converters||$48,108,000||-18.2%||SY|
|97||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$46,860,000||-24.5%||CP|
|98||Grapes (fresh or dried)||$46,113,000||-16.7%||CP|
|99||Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles||$46,080,000||-24.3%||SP|
|100||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$45,833,000||+4.0%||CP|
New Zealand’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by imported cars, phones including smartphones, computers including optical readers, trucks and automobile parts or accessories. Shopping products represent 50 of New Zealand’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
In second place via 33 items are convenience products (CP). Examples include processed petroleum oils, medications, miscellaneous food preparations, plastic packing items such as lids or caps, and miscellaneous plastic items.
There were 17 speciality products (SY) ranking among the top 100. Major speciality products imported into New Zealand include nitrogenous fertilizers, electric water heaters and hair dryers, beauty makeup or skincare products, liquid pumps and gold.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications, sugar and corn are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 83 of New Zealand’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 36 are classified as non-durable.
Using the provided table, you can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into New Zealand that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 220.6% ($218.8 million)
- Gold: Up 199% ($126.3 million)
- Vulcanized rubber apparel, accessories: Up 102.8% ($61.8 million)
- Soap, organic surface-active goods: Up 46.3% ($82.5 million)
- Hair preparations: Up 38.4% ($78.5 million)
- Other organic cleaning preparations: Up 19.5% ($157.4 million)
- Malt extract, food preparations: Up 19.4% ($51 million)
- Pasta, couscous: Up 17.5% ($73.5 million)
- Vacuum cleaners: Up 17.4% ($67.9 million)
- Miscellaneous plastic items: Up 14.2% ($237 million)
Among the above top 10 gainers, 6 qualify as durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Four of those durable items with accelerating sales to importers in New Zealand are shopping products specifically miscellaneous textile items, vulcanized rubber apparel or accessories, organic surface-active goods and soap, and hair preparations.
The 2 fast-growing speciality items are gold and vacuum cleaners.
The fastest-growing 4 convenience products imported into New Zealand include pasta and couscous as well as miscellaneous plastic items. Consumers consider these items as non-durable products, commonly referred to as disposable goods that normally are used only once.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Spending by import buyers in New Zealand on the following 10 items decreased in value at the severest rate from 2019 to 2020.
- Tractors: Down -38.8% ($180.3 million)
- Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes: Down -37.6% ($67.4 million)
- Cases, handbags, wallets: Down -36.4% ($126.5 million)
- Trucks: Down -31% ($741.1 million)
- Jewelry: Down -25.1% ($91.2 million)
- Cars: Down -24.7% ($2.4 billion)
- Uncoated paper for writing/printing: Down -24.5% ($46.9 million)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: Down -24.3% ($46.1 million)
- Potassic fertilizers: Down -23.8% ($72.6 million)
- Printing machinery: Down -23.4% ($141.2 million)
Two categories among New Zealand’s top 10 severest decliners are non-durable convenience products consumed one time. Those imports are cigars, cigarellos and cigarettes, as well as uncoated paper for writing and printing.
Six among the remaining major import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for consumers to make buying decisions. Purchases under the shopping products category are more likely to be deferred than convenience products. Examples of these shopping goods range from trucks and cars to cases, handbags and wallets.
The 2 top declining speciality products are jewelry and potassic fertilizers.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target demand for 5 of New Zealand’s top consumer import products.
New Zealand’s biggest imported consumer product by value is cars. The other 4 leading consumer goods imported into New Zealand are phones including smartphones, computers, trucks and medications.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for New Zealand’s imported:
Cars: Japan (41.8% of total), Germany (10.2%), South Korea (8.8%), United States (6.9%), Thailand (6.4%), United Kingdom (6.1%), Slovakia (2.8%), Czech Republic (2.2%), Belgium (2.2%), and China (1.9%).
Phones: China (64.3% of total), Vietnam (15.7%), Taiwan (3.7%), United States (3.3%), Malaysia (2.3%), Mexico (1.9%), Australia (1.5%), South Korea (0.8%), Thailand (0.8%), and Canada (0.7%).
Computers: China (77.6% of total), Singapore (4.1%), United States (3.5%), Malaysia (2.5%), Australia (2.3%), Taiwan (2.2%), Thailand (2.0%), Vietnam (1.3%), Mexico (1.1%), and Germany (0.6%).
Trucks: Thailand (53.2% of total), Japan (21.0%), Australia (5.1%), United Kingdom (3.6%), Netherlands (3.2%), Germany (3.2%), China (2.2%), Turkey (1.8%), France (1.3%), and United States (1%)
Medications: Australia (17.1% of total), Germany (14.3%), India (8.7%), Switzerland (8.6%), United States (8.1%), United Kingdom (7%), Ireland (4.8%), Italy (4.5%), France (3.7%), and Belgium (3.2%)
More great research: New Zealand’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, Australia’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, China’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, US Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Germany’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Vietnam’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: New Zealand Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.
Trading Economics, New Zealand Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
Wikipedia, New Zealand.
World’s Top Exports, New Zealand’s Top 10 Imports.