New Zealand has a Goods & Service Tax of 12.5% which should be taken into consideration.
Generally, when compared to the UK and the USA, the lower cost of recruitment and incentives may be a positive surprise to foreigners.
The magnitude of the incentive is important. In cities such as Auckland where significant travel may be required, participants expect the incentive to be higher to cover the cost of travel. Typically an incentive of $60-$80 (NZ) is used although to attract people in executive positions we often use incentives of $100-150 (NZ) for an hour of their time.
To help with recruiting, the use of recruitment agencies is becoming more popular to secure participants. Agencies charge around $100-150 NZD per person and prefer at least two weekends to recruit.
Drop out rates
In order to reduce drop out rates, after the initial screener participants also receive an email or letter with a map of the venue. More importantly the participants are given a reminder phone call the day before the testing.
The experience of usability testing in New Zealand is generally very similar to Australia. However, New Zealand’s smaller population of around 4 million people, around a fifth of Australia’s, should be taken into account when planning a study here, especially regarding the recruitment.
The two main cities are Auckland and Wellington with respective populations of 1.3 million and 400,000 people and, depending on the study, it can be useful to conduct part of a study in Wellington and part in Auckland, as attitudes differ between the centres. For example, Wellington is the capital city and the population here has a larger appetite for political news than Auckland.
Due to the population’s small size and interconnectedness it can sometimes be difficult to find participants when recruitment criteria need to be very focused.
The population in general is culturally varied and internationally flavoured, and many New Zealanders are reasonably well-traveled.
Although New Zealanders consider themselves more reserved in personality than Americans or Australians, from our experience they are still honest and open people. In some ways they are less likely to complain about bad service or poor quality not because they do not want to hurt someone’s feelings but because they have lower expectations of service and are happy to work through things. New Zealand does not really have a social hierarchy and foreigners, particularly those from Asia, may be surprised by the informal, friendly nature of people even when they first meet.
Holiday, seasonality, and timing considerations
New Zealand’s summer holidays fall in late December and into January, making it more difficult to recruit participants over this period. From January through to April there are a number of public holidays that need to be considered when planning studies as it is unlikely that participants will be available on those days.