COVID-19 Insights Tracker

2021 edition

Understanding the hearts and minds of Kiwis during COVID

As the COVID-19 Delta situation unfolds, we are regularly reaching out to Kiwis, including business owners, to understand their current headspace. We are committed to providing this information free of charge to help make a difference where we can.

This tracker is an adaptation of our 2020 COVID-19 Insights Tracker. 

If you're interested in getting COVID-19 insights specific to your business and/or industry, please don't hesitate to get in touch.



How to use this tracker

Filter and slice each of the six questions by age, generation, gender, region and business size using the drop down menus. Hold ctrl and click to select multiple filter options. 

2 September summary

Fieldwork was conducted between 27 August* and 30 August** 2021.

*Fieldwork took place during the announcement of regions south of Auckland moving to Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August
**Fieldwork was completed prior to the 4pm announcement confirming regions South of Auckland moving to Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August while Northland and Auckland remain at Level 4.


Most New Zealanders are feeling positive despite the lockdown.  

  • 2 in 3 New Zealanders have often felt positive emotions over the past week while in Level 4. 
  • Around half have been feeling loving (51%), happy (50%), or positive (49%) despite the lockdown situation. 
  • For comparison, our 26 March 2020 (Level 4) wave saw Kiwis reported slightly higher levels of loving (54%), happy (51%), positive (51%).  
  • Only one-third of New Zealanders claim to have frequently felt negative emotions with stress being the leading emotion (26%). 
  • This is significantly down from the 49% reported in our 26 March 2020 (Level 4) wave, and even down from the 38% reported at 1 July 2020 during Level 1.


Concern is down thanks to past lockdown experiences 

Our previous experiences mean the majority of New Zealanders are coping the same, if not better than last time we were in Level 4. 

  • One-third (36%) of New Zealanders indicate they are highly concerned about COVID-19. This is much lower than what New Zealanders experienced in one week of lockdown in March 2020 (52%). 
  • What New Zealanders are specifically concerned about varies. While half are concerned about a resurgence of the virus (54%), over two-fifths are worried about economic conditions (44%) and being disconnected from family and friends (42%). 
  • For comparison, our 21 April 2020 (Level 4) wave saw concern around a resurgence of the virus sitting at 64% and worry about economic conditions at 43%. 
  • 25% of New Zealanders are coping better. Most attribute this to being better prepared because we have experienced lockdown before (89%). 
  • Of the 16% who are coping worse, 22% state they are not confident in the lockdown strategy and believe the vaccine is being rolled out too slow.  
  • One-fifth are feeling negative effects to their wellbeing including stress (20%), negative impacts on their mental or physical health (17%) and frustration at being stuck at home again (16%). 


Kiwis believe the economy will feel the most negative impact, not our health 

  • More than half believe the virus will negatively impact local business (64% vs 84% at 26 March 2020), the global economy (61% vs 83%), international business (56% vs 77%), and the New Zealand economy (54% vs 79%). 


New Zealanders think it will take twice as long for Auckland to reach Level 1 

  • New Zealanders believe it will take 6 weeks for Auckland to return to Level 1 due to the number of daily cases and clusters within the region. 
  • For the remaining regions that are yet to receive any recorded cases, New Zealanders believe those regions will return to Level 1 in 3 weeks. 
  • Half believe this will occur within 2 weeks. 
  • New Zealanders are slightly apprehensive about Wellington returning as quickly, with respondents believing it will be 4 weeks until the capital returns to Level 1. 


Business decision-makers are more concerned about COVID-19 compared to the rest of New Zealand (47% vs. 33%) 

  • Business decision-makers are most concerned about economic conditions (53%) and are significantly more likely to be concerned about unemployment, job security or finding a new job (36%).  
  • Compared to non-decision-makers, they are more concerned about the pandemic negatively impacting their friends/family’s mental and physical health (47% vs 30%) and their friends/family’s financial situation (37% vs 20%). 
  • COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the mental health of decision-makers (33% vs 17% of non-decision-makers). 
  • 2 in 5 indicate it is impacting both their mental and physical health (39%).  


Kiwis agree with the government’s response to the Delta outbreak 

  • 4 out of 5 Kiwis believe the New Zealand Government’s decision to place the country in a Level 4 lockdown was the right decision. 
  • 3 in 5 (60%) New Zealanders believe the government has done enough in response to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. For comparison, at 26 March 2020 (Level 4) this ratio was 3 in 4 (75%). One-quarter (25%) believe the government could be doing more. At 26 March 2020, this was one-fifth (20%) of Kiwis.  
  • 1 in 2 New Zealanders feel they are receiving a necessary amount of information from the media, whereas 1 in 3 are finding it overwhelming. 


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Brand sentiment

The brand sentiment graph looks at positive and negative sentiment towards a brand, and plots that against the number of mentions. There is opportunity for brands in the bottom right quadrant to speak louder as they show strong sentiment but their mentions are low.

31 August 2021 results


To view last years results, click here.

About this tracker

© 2021 Perceptive and Sapien. No part of the data contained in this report may be edited or reproduced in any way without the permission of Perceptive or Sapien.

If you would like to use the information below please contact Juno Scott Kelly at

If you're interested in getting COVID-19 insights specific to your business and/or industry, please don't hesitate to get in touch.