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Younger Kiwis More Concerned During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Unisys Security Index™ Finds

  • Younger New Zealanders are more worried about the financial impacts of COVID-19 and their ability to meet essential financial obligations
  • Economic stability is the #1 concern for Kiwis in the COVID-19 health crisis

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 28 July 2020 – New research from Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) reveals younger New Zealanders are more worried about the impact of COVID-19 than older generations, according to the 2020 Unisys Security Index™.

The longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally, the Unisys Security Index asked New Zealanders to assess their level of concern about how global health crises, such as the outbreak of the COVID-19, Ebola, or Zika virus impacted the economic stability of New Zealand; their job security; their financial security; their family's physical health; and New Zealand's health infrastructure. Overall, younger respondents are more concerned than older respondents (41% of 35-44-year olds are seriously concerned vs. 33% of 55-64-year olds) about the financial effects of the pandemic.

In the COVID-19 environment, New Zealanders are more concerned about the stability of the nation's economy, health infrastructure and their family's well-being than their personal health or data security. However, younger generations express significantly higher levels of concern for most areas and in particular their overall personal safety over the next six months (43% of 25-34 year old's vs. 24% of 55-64 year old's); their ability to meet essential financial obligations (51% vs. 24%); a serious national disaster occurring in New Zealand (56% vs. 37%); and national security in relation to war and terrorism (35% vs. 25%).

The high concern among young people mirrors the rising unemployment rates and corresponding registrations for Jobseeker support: so far, 12,589 people have been granted the COVID-19 Income Support Payment (CIRP), and it has been impacting younger generations to a much larger degree[1]. In New Zealand, the number of people receiving the Jobseeker (unemployed) benefit increased from about 151,000 before the country went into a lockdown in mid-March, to 190,456 in June. Fifty-five percent of the Jobseeker benefit recipients were young workers under the age of 40[2]. So even though the elderly are at most risk of the physical threat of COVID-19, younger generations are more likely to experience the economic threat. Simultaneously, New Zealand's gross domestic product (GDP) fell 1.6 percent between January and March 2020) marking the first contraction of the economy in nine years as the nation felt the first impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These findings indicate that the pandemic is having a bigger financial impact on younger generations. Many millennials entered a workforce that hadn't yet recovered from the 2008 recession. Now they're being hit hard again by the pandemic," said Andrew Whelan, vice president, Commercial and Financial Sector, Unisys Asia Pacific, who is based in Wellington.

Kiwis Trust Government Use of Technology in Emergency Response

The study also polled the New Zealand public's willingness to share personal data with organisations or use a facial recognition app on their phone to confirm their identity.

Almost two in three (62%) New Zealanders say they would be willing to share their location data with police so that they could be located in an emergency. Whereas less than half are willing to share such information with the government to expedite access to citizen services such as drivers licence or social benefit applications (48%), expedite border processing in airports (46%), or share it with banks (47%) to identify suspicious activity in their accounts. Even less are willing to share information with health insurers (33%) or retailers (23%).

Overall, Kiwis are more receptive to using a mobile app with facial recognition to verify their identity to access online services from the government than with banks. The majority (58%) are willing to use such an app to apply for/renew driving licenses (58%) and approximately half are willing to use it to financial benefits (50%) or enable government agencies update their contact details (49%). Whereas only 41% are willing to use this type of mobile app to apply for a credit card or home loan with a bank.

"The findings suggest a high trust in the government collecting private data when it is for an emergency response, which reflects the relatively high levels of compliance among New Zealanders with the COVID-19 safety measures" says Mr. Whelan.

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About the Unisys Security Index

Unisys has conducted the Unisys Security Index – the longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally – since 2007 to provide an ongoing, statistically-robust measure of concern about security. The index is a calculated score out of 300 covering changing consumer attitudes over time across eight areas of security: national security in relation to war or terrorism, disaster/epidemic, bankcard fraud, financial obligations, viruses/hacking, online transactions, identity theft and personal safety. The 2020 Unisys Security Index is based on online surveys conducted 16 March – 5 April 2020 with 75% of New Zealand's 1,018 responses collected by 21 March. The survey is conducted across nationally representative samples of at least 1,000 adults in each of the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. The margin of error at a country level is +/-3.1% at 95% confidence level, and +/-0.8% at a global level. During the research, the COVID-19 pandemic was prevalent in each of the countries surveyed.

About Unisys

Unisys is a global information technology company that builds high-performance, security-centric solutions for the most demanding businesses and governments on Earth. Unisys offerings include security software and services; digital transformation and workplace services; industry applications and services; and innovative software operating environments for high-intensity enterprise computing. For more information on how Unisys builds better outcomes securely for its clients across the Government, Financial Services and Commercial markets, visit

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Claire Hosegood, Unisys APAC,
+61 411 253 663,

Allan Botica, Botica Butler Raudon,
M: +64 21 400 500
T: +64 9 303 3862