23-May-2017 11:32 AM

As the Cheers refrain goes: sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. But with new research commissioned by American Express revealing that fewer than half of Kiwis know the name of a local shop or restaurant owner, the days of a local spot where everybody knows your name may be behind us.

1 May 2017

Today American Express is launching Live Local; a campaign to encourage Kiwi customers to shop at their locally owned stores. To support this initiative, more than 1,000 Kiwis were asked to give their thoughts on the importance of local businesses.

Kiwis are overwhelmingly vocal in their support of small business, with 92 per cent saying that local shop owners make their neighbourhood a better place to live. That love doesn’t necessarily translate into action, however;

when asked if they knew the name of any of their local restaurant or shop owners, 51.8 per cent of respondents said no.

Rob Bourne, American Express Head of Card Services NZ, says this comes as a real surprise.

“Many people will remember a time not long ago when we knew the name of our local dairy owner, green grocer, or restaurant owner. And they knew us too,” Bourne says.

“It’s fantastic that more than 90 per cent of Kiwis believe that local businesses make their neighbourhood a better place to live, but there’s a clear disconnect between that sentiment and the fact most people don’t know their local store owners anymore.”

Local Ponsonby resaturanteur, Krishna Botica of Saan, says that for her the key take away from this survey is the strong support Kiwis have for local businesses.

“It’s awesome to hear so many Kiwis say local shop owners make their neighbourhood a better place to live,” says Botica. “When people come into the restaurant, they may not know my name, but as long as I greet them with a smile and they have a positive experience they’ll keep coming back and we’ll continue to make a positive contribution to this neighbourhood.”

Bourne says that American Express’ Live Local campaign is intended not only to reward Kiwis who spend at their locally owned businesses, but to celebrate the great contribution made by New Zealand’s small businesses.

“Spending locally provides clear economic benefits, but from a community building perspective it’s even more important. Communities where people really know each other are healthier and they’re happier,” says Bourne.

From 1 May until 11 June 2017, American Express is encouraging Aucklanders to spend locally by partnering with small businesses in Parnell, Ponsonby, Takapuna and Newmarket. Customers who spend $20 or more in one transaction on their registered Card will get $10 back at up to five different participating businesses.

Bourne believes American Express can help drive a behaviour change for Kiwi consumers and says the four suburbs selected are the perfect place to start.

According to Bourne, a significant portion of total retail, dining and entertainment spending by American Express Card Members in 2016 was at the Ponsonby, Parnell, Newmarket and Takapuna precincts, and these areas have a high number of locally owned stores.

“We’ve looked at where we can make an impact encouraging people to spend locally and we’ve also looked at the best way to do it,” explains Bourne. “Our research shows that more than 42 per cent of people prefer a cash-back reward, so we’ve done just that to ensure the biggest boost for our local merchants.”

“People should support their local businesses by making a conscious decision to spend with their local retailers in addition to their international favourites,” Bourne concludes. “And while you’re there, why not introduce yourself? It’s always better to shop where someone knows your name.”

To find out more and view participating merchants visit:


Notes to Editors:

*Data based on a April 2017 Perceptive Research survey with a sample size greater than 1,000

*The Live Local campaign follows the international success of Shop Small, an American Express campaign that started in the US, before expanding to UK, Canada, Singapore and now Australia, encouraging Card Members to support their local retailers.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Max Burt                                                                         Holly Hatch-Stevens

Mango Communications                              Mango Communications

E:                                       E:      

M: 021 028 94405                                                         M: 020 403 15178


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