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  • What is the situation in the key export markets across the world?
  • What are the preeminent macro trends affecting Kiwi brands?
  • What are the opportunities for Kiwi exporters?

We hosted our first monthly Export Recovery Series Around the World Update Live Webinar with a full panel of industry experts from export markets around the world.

Some of the key themes that resonated among the panel were:

  • Be empathetic and get to know your customers –  understanding what these challenges are, but also trying to really listen to the consumers of your product and how their needs are changing – the only way to stay close to these trends is to empathise with customers on their journey, empathise with their needs and how they are adjusting to this new world
  • Don’t waste a crisis. Covid-19 has put everything on fast forward – we need to watch out for where the opportunities are and capitalise on them. It might be in counterintuitive markets and it might not be markets that have been successful in the past – empathy will help you find these.
  • There is a strong sense of community between New Zealand exporters and Kiwis offshore – tap into other people who can share experiences. There’s so much goodwill, let’s stay together and help each other through.
  • And finally a reminder that while things might feel like they’re returning to some normalcy at home, here in New Zealand, many of the markets around the world are not doing the same.
  • Hamish Conway –  Sell Global
  • Andrew White, NZTE Trade Commissioner in Beijing
  • Jocelyn Honour, NZTE Global Practice Lead – Digital Commerce in Victoria, Australia
  • Lowry Gladwell, Vend, Director of Legal
  • Toni Truslove, Kea NZ, CEO
  • Nick Swallow, NZTE Trade Commissioner in London

Our key outtakes from the panel discussion


  • Looking at the economic data it’s pretty stark. Casualisation of the workforce and the insecurity that comes with that is putting a damper on consumer optimism.
  • Be empathetic, be responsive but expect a continuing contraction.
  • Focus on one state at a time – If you’ve got a presence in one state, really double down and make sure you get things right in there. There are quite subtle but very important differences between Australian states.
  • Hunt out the opportunities – Consumer behaviour is expected to become less optimistic however there will be opportunities in categories such as pet food and pet care products, workflow systems and remote working solutions, easing peoples’ concerns about returning to everyday activities, healthcare etc.


  • It feels like China is in recovery mode in contrast to parts of Australia in that sense.
  • China authorities move very quickly to lock it down when there is an outbreak so things settle down fairly quickly, but the longer term impact is where consumers lose confidence in a sector or channel. There is a lingering underlying consumer fear and caution present.

Particular channels are impacted more than others across the food and beverage sector. Catering has had a much slower recovery but there are bright spots within each channel. Consumption has had a U shaped recovery, slower and tighter, whereas production sites have been much quicker to recover.

  • Everybody coming into the market must be ready to pivot – The more successful channels in the past may not be the ones at the moment or in the immediate future. We need to look at how we can pivot our businesses, how are our partners pivoting their businesses – can we be a part of that and support them through the change.
  • It’s harder to get people back to market. Even if you have a team in the market, getting people back can be challenging from health and safety issues to visas needing to be reapplied for and so on.
  • Online platforms are diversifying – There is JD, the Alibaba stables, and others which are more specialists. Part of the challenge for companies is keeping across those and asking what are the intricacies of those platforms and where should they be playing.


  • Retail spending in June was only 3% lower than the previous year – there’s been a significant shift in consumer behavior to online sales. In terms of where the spending is going you just wouldn’t pick what’s going to happen – It’s created some winners and losers around how people in the UK are adjusting.
  • New Zealand exporters need to think about people moving into a phase of living with the virus – we’ve been through the lockdown phase and what we’re seeing is a recovery in a number of areas related to the lifestyle that people have adapted to with this change and behaviours.
  • The devolved states have some powers over things like transport, education, health, the environment and some forms of taxation. But the UK is really where the trade powers sit so all we’re seeing is changes in consumer behaviours based on the different containment strategies that the different countries have, and it’s ultimately converging.
  • The key thing for New Zealand businesses to understand around Brexit is the different outcomes as a result, and to look at the different parts of their operations and where the risks may lie.
  • The UK has put out a new global Tariff Schedule that will come into place from 1 January 2021. The good news for New Zealand companies exporting to the UK is there is a reduction in all tariffs and a minimisation of a number.
  • Where New Zealand companies are trading between the UK and EU and vice versa there will be new barriers to trade. There will be a border between the EU and UK and the regulations will change so these exporters will need to prepare for the impact of that.
  • There is a sense of confidence that the natural trading relationship between NZ and UK will stay intact – there is optimism about the trading relationship no matter how difficult the transition into post-Brexit will be.

The reputation of brand New Zealand and the Kiwi network

  • Brand New Zealand is stronger than ever particularly from a business perspective. It’s growing from strength to strength. We’re lucky to be very much open for business. People are looking very favourably on innovation work coming out of New Zealand.
  • New Zealand has a really good reputation in terms of technology talent and thought leadership that we can offer the world in terms of innovation.
  • We are recognising the need for people to still stay connected to each other and to culture.
  • NZ Food and Beverage sector – New Zealand brand is incredibly strong in terms of quality of goods and produce, dairy, wheat. Companies are really ramping up in terms of technology for traceability. Being able to use technology to demonstrate to global consumers a really clear path to market and for the interest of trust and quality of goods, is more important than ever.
  • There has been a surge of goodwill and positive support from New Zealand exports offshore
  • There are many Kiwis offshore who want to see New Zealand succeed and want to see New Zealand exporters succeed who are willing to put in time and effort, to give feet on the ground market insights and help build relationships in offshore markets.
  • KEA can help connect New Zealand businesses wanting to enter the world stage in business to Kiwis offshore who can help 

Counterintuitive markets and digital opportunities

  • Vend offers software for companies that are running shops or hospitality outlets – physical point of sale. Lowry says while they saw the impact of COVID through March and April things have bounced back quickly particularly in North America. 
  • Vend believes COVID-19 has sped up the roadmap for retailers to go digital. Retailers are taking this downtime through covid-19 to look at their systems and technology they do or don’t use, look at their operations, and figure out how they can move to the new world.
  • Businesses really need to take this opportunity to see how they can improve their ability to interact with customers online. Not being able to get in front of people has created opportunities in VR and AR. 
  • In the digital space, there’s enormous efficiencies that can be gained in the supply chain making sure you can get your products and services on the ground in the markets your chasing
  • The reseller channel has been very resilient through COVID-19. Vend is seeing success and resilience in the reseller and referral channel over direct channels. The human contact through that channel helps bring resilience.
  • There are a ton of opportunities in the e-commerce space, integrations – anything that integrates with e-commerce or point of sale or retail management – things are happening, it’s going well, and it’s a reason to be cheerful. 

As always, if you need any help with the process of going to market: creating a plan, research, investing in capital, see the resources below or reach out to us at Katabolt!

Christopher Boys at Katabolt for help with market selection –
Hamish Conway at SellGlobal –
Andrew White, NZTE Trade Commissioner in Beijing –
Jocelyn Honour, NZTE Global Practice Lead – Digital Commerce in Victoria, Australia –
Lowry Gladwell, Vend, Director of Legal –
Toni Truslove, Kea NZ, CEO –
Nick Swallow, NZTE Trade Commissioner in London –

Resources :

The Export Recovery Panel team would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of our friends at Kea New Zealand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for helping to make these webinars possible. Thank you.

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