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Australians or Kiwis: Who are more content?

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Australians are more content than New Zealanders, new data shows.

In a nutshell

  1. We surveyed 10,000 Australians and 300,000 New Zealanders to find out how people see themselves.
  2. Data reveals key differences between how New Zealanders and Australians view themselves.
  3. MindSets can help supercharge your marketing in both Australia and New Zealand markets.

From 2018-2022, TRA has surveyed almost 300,000 New Zealanders to understand how they see themselves. 

This work has culminated in MindSets – an industry-leading framework that moves beyond demographics to identify groups of people that share the same motivations and outlook on the world. 

Over the past five years, MindSets have helped brands and organisations identify their target audience and optimise their messaging to fit. 

Now, TRA has added Australia to the mix. 

With the launch of TRA Melbourne and Sydney offices, TRA surveyed nearly 10,000 Australians. This data has allowed us invaluable insight into how Australians see themselves, including important takeaways such as the biggest MindSet and the MindSets most likely to be early adopters of products or behaviours. 

It’s also allowed us to take a Trans-Tasman view: drawing distinct comparisons between the MindSets of Australians and the MindSets of New Zealanders.

Read below for key similarities and differences, an overview of how the individual MindSets stack up on each side of the Tasman, and some tips on how your brand or organisation can use these insights to their best advantage. 

For a deeper dive into each country, fill out the form at the bottom of this article to download two infographics on how the MindSets are showing up in Australia and New Zealand.

Australians are more content with their lot than Kiwis. 

Our MindSets data shows New Zealanders have a much more aspirational outlook on the future than Australians, which means they are looking to get ahead and change their position in life. This finding spans across demographics of age, gender, income, ethnicity. 

Conversely, Australians report much higher levels of contentment – they are 15% more content with their position in life as it currently stands.

bar graph of new zealand vs australia against the four mindsets criteria

Trans-Tasman brands and organisations may want to alter their communications between New Zealanders and Australians to take advantage of this difference: messages of progress and momentum for Kiwis, and messages of satisfaction and fulfilment for Australians. 

Both New Zealanders and Australians are likely to be traditional.

Our data showed that the majority of New Zealanders and Australians (63% and 65% respectively) view themselves as having a traditional approach to life. This isn’t a simple case of young versus old: our research shows that people aged 18 to 24 are evenly split between a progressive and traditional MindSet.

Our research shows that people with a traditional approach are more likely to be late adopters of technology and use traditional channels for media such as radio, print or TV. They’ll probably prefer face-to-face communication over communicating via digital channels. 

Conversely, people with a progressive approach are more likely to be tech savvy and early adopters of technology. Accordingly, they’ll consume content online and have a higher use of texting and messaging apps. They tend to prefer digital communication over face-to-face interaction.

The rise of ‘The Challenger’ MindSet is much more prominent in New Zealand. 

The MindSets are based on four dimensions: a traditional vs. progressive approach to life, an aspirational vs. content outlook, mainstream vs. unique tastes, and a community vs. individual/family focus. It is at the intersection of these four dimensions that we find our ten distinct MindSet groups.

The largest group in both countries are the Sentinels, making up 22% and 28% of New Zealanders and Australians respectively. Sentinels see themselves as having a traditional approach to life, a content outlook, and an individual/family orientation. Sentinels are the group who most agree that you should follow the rules. We can see here that this group is larger in the Australian population, making up more than one in four people. 

It's in the second largest group that we start to see the differences between the two countries emerge. In Australia, the Pillars represent 15% of the population: they are have a a traditional approach, a community focus, a content outlook and mainstream tastes. In New Zealand, however, the next largest group is the Challengers, (16%), who see themselves as having a progressive approach, an aspirational outlook and unique tastes.  

mindsets bar graph showing split between NZ and Aus against 10 mindsets

It’s clear that the Pillars and the Challengers exist on quite different ends of the spectrum. While Pillars have similar inclinations to the Sentinels, Challengers offer a different set of characteristics. Challengers want to enjoy their life and tend to live for today, preferring experiences over physical items. They are often at the forefront of new trends, usually being one of the first to try new things. 

Brands that want to reach this group may want to lean more into New Zealand markets who have a higher percentage of the Challengers MindSet. It’s just one example of how businesses and organisations can dig into each individual MindSet to further optimise their marketing strategy for each country. 

Apply MindSets to your marketing.

People want to see themselves. If you show up in the world like the people you are trying to reach, you have a much better chance of capturing and connecting with your audience. 

Use TRA’s MindSets to identify and understand your customers or audience, and then use this understanding to build trust and confidence. Brands resonate differently to Challengers, Builders or Thrivers – so shift your messaging slightly depending on who you want to reach. You can also use MindSets for a broader approach guided by one of the four MindSets markers, such as a traditional vs. progressive approach. 

Crucially, the MindSets are a largely fixed system. While our circumstances and experiences are constantly changing, our research shows that our MindSet stays relatively fixed throughout our lifetime.  

Viewed this way, we can understand the MindSets like an overarching mental operating system – like an IOS or Android. While traditional demographic markers like age or location can change over time, a person’s MindSet remains static and therefore much easier to target and talk to.  

This makes them an incredibly powerful tool for marketers, brands and organisations.  

They influence what we believe, the attitudes we hold and what type of things motivate us – and they remain concrete, no matter the circumstances. 

Go deeper

Dive in deeper with Australia’s MindSets here.

Get in touch at to find out how we can help your brand or organisation use MindSets.

Headshot of Andrew Gale, Head of Quantitative at TRA in black and white
Andrew Gale
Head of Quantitative Practice
Andrew is passionate about using data to help clients solve their business problems. Highly skilled in all facets of Quantitative research, advanced analytics, market sizing and financial analysis. Extensive experience in Financial Services, FMCG, Utilities, Telecommunications, Social research and Government projects. Andrew is exceptional in providing clients with the confidence to act based on a sound understanding of the opportunities and issues they face, including the financial implications and ROI of any actions.

Understand the forces of culture and shape radical ideas

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