How are Kiwis using the internet?

internet usageThe digital trend in New Zealand continues to point upwards. According to the latest #Digital2022 report, 4.63 million people have been using the internet between Cape Reinga and Stewart Island in January 2022 which means a 1.7%-increase compared to the previous year. With New Zealand’s population currently standing at 4.88 million, a total of 94.9 percent have had access to the internet in some way. The remaining 5.1 percent were still offline at the beginning of the year.

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General insights

The report found that people between the age of 16 to 64 spend almost 6.5 hours daily on the internet, with social media being accessed just over 2 hours daily on average. Most engagements with different kinds of media and devices have seen a significant spike compared to 2021. Music streaming devices are up by 36.3 percent (1h 49min), broadcast radio is up by 5.7 percent (1h 14min) and podcasts have seen a 75-percent-increase (49min). The time spent with gaming consoles has also increased by 28.6 percent (54min).

Overall, 87.4 percent of all internet users utilize a smartphone to go online, compared to 82.3 percent using a laptop or desktop and 36.1 percent a tv with internet connection. Kiwis mostly surf the internet to find information (73.3 percent), research “how to do” things (69.4 percent), and to stay in touch with friends and family (69.4 percent).

The preferred browser across New Zealand by far is Chrome (58.61 percent) followed by Safari (26.65 percent) and Microsoft Edge (5.6 percent). Google also remains the most popular search engine with 93.96 percent of the market share. Its closest competitors Bing (3.68 percent) and Yahoo (1.07 percent) are miles away.

While terms relating to Covid-19 and the coronavirus were leading the Google search rankings in 2020, the interest of Kiwis has slightly shifted since. The top 3 search queries between January and December 2021 were related to the weather, Covid and Facebook followed by news-related queries including Stuff, News and Herald as well as retailers including Warehouse, Kmart and TradeMe.

The 3 most used websites in New Zealand in November 2021 were Microsoft Online, TheMarket and RealMe. According to Semrush Ranking, which is based on total monthly website traffic, Google was ranked #4 with Bet365 and Facebook right behind. The government’s Covid19 website, Stuff, WordPress and Tiktok finish off the Top10. In comparison, Alexa Ranking, which is also based on total monthly website traffic, sees, YouTube and TradeMe in the Top 3 followed by Facebook, MyShopify,, NZ Herald, Netflix, Stuff and Reddit.

Social Media usage

In January 2022, New Zealand reportedly had 4.35 million active social media users which is equivalent to 89.2 percent of the total population and means an increase of almost 380,000 or 9.6 percent compared to the previous year. Users spend an average of 2h 05min daily on social media platforms which is an increase of 10 minutes.

With 89.2 percent of the total population engaging on social media, more than half of all users are female (53.5 percent). Connecting with friends and family remains the main reason for accessing social media platforms (63.6 percent) followed by filling spare time (42 percent).


As a search engine and a social media platform, YouTube competes with more traditional networks for audience and advertising. YouTube is the most popular social media platform with 85.9 percent or 4.19 million Kiwis using YouTube at the beginning of 2022. With 51.6 percent, just over half of these users are female and the remaining 48.4 percent male.

It is highly popular with younger generations aged 34 and below, who search mostly for queries, song/s and music, with movies ranking 4th followed by Tiktok (5), Minecraft (7), Roblox (8) and children’s popular Cocomelon (15) and Baby Shark (18).


With Facebook converting to Meta and changing the way audience reach data is being reported, figures cannot fully be compared to previous years. At the beginning of 2022, Facebook/ Meta reportedly had 3.05 million users across New Zealand which is equivalent to 62.5 percent of the total population at that time. However, since Facebook restricts usage of its services to people aged 13 and over, effectively 74.8 percent of the eligible population or 81.1 percent of all internet users across the country enjoy what the social media platform has to offer. Similar to YouTube, more than half of these users are female with 53.3 percent compared to 46.7 percent male subscribers.

An astonishing 97.1 percent of all users access the network from their mobile devices at some point. While 41.7 percent claim to use their mobile phones as well as desktop and laptop computers, more than half (55.4%) state that they use Facebook exclusively on their mobile.

Top Ten continued

New Zealand’s Top Ten social media networks also include; Facebook’s Messenger (75.2%), Instagram (58.2%) and WhatsApp (40.3%) followed by Snapchat (36.9%), Pinterest (35.2%), Tiktok (35%) and IMessage(31%). LinkedIn completes the list with 25.2 percent of usage reported.

Streaming services

Accessing music and videos online has never been easier in New Zealand. The list of streaming services is constantly growing, and Kiwis are making the most of it. 85.8 percent of all internet users are regularly streaming videos, 40.5 percent are streaming music, 32.4 percent are watching how-to tutorials and 19.8 percent engage in video livestreaming. Notable is also that 18.3 percent regularly watch product review videos. In total, 95.3 percent of all internet users stream tv content over the internet with a daily average of 1h 36min.

Mobile internet usage

Mobile usage has slightly declined over the past couple of years. In January 2022, there were 6.4 million registered mobile connections throughout New Zealand, 131.2 percent of the total population compared to 135 percent back in January 2020. However, the number of connections has slightly increased by 11,000 or 0.2 percent compared to the previous year.

Mobile internet usage, on the other hand, continues to be on the rise. 88.5 percent of all internet users across New Zealand access the world wide web on a mobile phone. 98 percent of those reportedly have a broadband connection included, browsing the web using any of the 3G to 5G networks. Android is still leading the system in New Zealand, making up 53.54 percent of mobile web traffic with IOS not far behind (45.22%).


Kiwis love to do business online. 97.3 percent of New Zealand’s population aged 15 and over have made or received a digital payment and 69.1 percent claim to have made an online purchase in the past year. 73.6 percent noted they had used online banking within that period and 73.7 percent stated they had used the internet to pay their bills. Overall, women seem more interested in managing finances and shopping online compared to Kiwi blokes.

During their research, the makers of the #Digital2022 report found that almost half of all internet users between the age of 16 and 64 purchase a product or service online on a weekly basis.14.7 percent order their weekly groceries and 14.4 percent buy second-hand items from an online store. Price comparison websites are used regularly by 19.7 percent of all users and 11.6 percent utilize “buy now – pay later” facilities.

Throughout 2021, a total of 3.25 million Kiwis have bought goods online with a combined value of 5.69 billion US dollars. Each consumer spent an average of US$ 1751 throughout the year on e-commerce activities. Unlike in previous years, mobile devices have outranked traditional desktops and laptops as the preferred method for online shopping with a market share of 55.8 percent.

With international travel having come to a halt through the Coronavirus Pandemic, the biggest e-commerce expense with 1.5 billion US dollars in 2021 was made up of fashion expenses, followed by electronics (US$1.11b), furniture (US$975m) as well as toys, hobby and DIY (US$733.6m) and personal and household care (US$547.1m). There was a significant increase in spending across all sectors with personal and household care items up by almost 12 percent and physical media up by almost 13 percent.

Outlook for 2023

While the majority of Kiwis now have access to the internet, especially rural areas still suffer from connectivity issues. The nationwide rollout of Ultra Fast Broadband continues for households and businesses to ensure that nobody gets left behind. The demand for high-speed internet has significantly increased since Covid-19 entered our lives.

At the same time, online shopping is becoming the norm for many with Kiwis shopping via the internet more frequently. According to the Statista Research Department, 83 percent of New Zealanders will do their shopping online by 2026. Everything points towards continued growth in e-commerce, both nationally and on a global level.

The shift away from a cash society will also continue, going one step further and cashless turning into contactless. PayWave transactions are increasing with additional payment options including Apple Pay, Google Pay and smartwatch payments.

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