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New Zealand / Press Releases
IBISWorld reveals NZ industries set to fly and fall in 2017/18

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by Media Team
Aug 30 2017

Across more than 200 New Zealand industries – from agriculture, forestry and fishing to mining, manufacturing, retail trade, transport, training and many more – IBISWorld analysts have researched and identified the top five Kiwi industries set to perform well, and those set to disappoint, over the course of the 2017-18 financial year.

“The New Zealand economy has undergone a revolution over the last decade or so. Its increasingly diverse economy no longer relies solely on the primary industries that once dominated the economy, and this year’s list of industries set to fly and fall reflects that,” said Mr Nathan Cloutman, IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst.

“Buoyed by open immigration policies, a growing population and strong exports, New Zealand is cementing itself as an increasingly important trading partner in the Asia-Pacific, and globally,” added Mr Cloutman.

Industry 2016-17**
($ million)
($ million)
Annual growth
2017-2018 %
Multi-Unit Apartment and Townhouse Construction 1,299.1 1,418.9 9.2%
Geothermal, Wind and Other Electricity Generation 398.4 432.7 8.6%
Cheese, Butter and Milk Powder Manufacturing 16,073.9 17,190.5 6.9%
Superannuation Funds 11,512.5 12,252.4 6.4%
Aged Care Residential Services 2,833.7 2,975.0 5.0%
Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services 2,478.8 2,424.3 -2.2%
Television Broadcasting 1,563.3 1,484.9 -5.0%
Rail Transport 425.0 403.4 -5.1%
Fossil Fuel Electricity Generation 322.3 303.4 -5.9%
Gas Supply 594.2 557.1 -6.2%

*Currency used is the New Zealand Dollar

**New Zealand financial year


Analysis from IBISWorld on what is affecting the performance of these industries follows:


Industries set to fly in 2017-18

Multi-Unit Apartment and Townhouse Construction – IBISWorld industry report E3019NZ

New Zealand is in the midst of an apartment construction boom at the moment, with the Multi-Unit Apartment and Townhouse Construction industry expected to rise by 9.2% in 2017-18, according to IBISWorld.

“A low interest rate environment has driven significant demand for apartments and townhouses and this is expected to persist over the current year. Building consents issued for new homes reached a 12-year high in 2016-17 and growth is anticipated to continue over the current year due to a housing supply shortfall,” said Mr Cloutman.

Surging residential housing prices in Auckland and Wellington have also led to a shift towards more affordable higher density living, particularly for those seeking to enter the property market for the first time. This has also fuelled demand for apartments and townhouses. 


Geothermal, Wind and Other Electricity Generation – IBISWorld industry report D2619NZ

The Geothermal, Wind and Other Electricity Generation industry is expected to grow by 8.6% in 2017-18, to $432.7 million, according to IBISWorld.

“A structural shift towards renewable energy sources has been driven largely by the cost effectiveness of wind and geothermal generation assets. New Zealand is well suited for the production of geothermal energy and its position between the latitudes of 40 and 50 degrees puts it in an area with strong winds, providing some ideal locations for wind farms,” said Mr Cloutman.

Over the past decade, companies have sought to divest their fossil fuel assets in favour of renewable sources with higher profit margins. Geothermal energy has proven to have lower operating costs than coal-fired electricity generation and lower capital requirements than hydro-electricity generation, IBISWorld research suggests.

“The industry’s green credentials and New Zealand’s natural resources make geothermal and wind power highly competitive substitutes to more established forms of electricity generation which, by 2022-23, is expected to generate revenue of $543.7 million,” added Mr Cloutman.

Cheese, Butter and Milk Powder Manufacturing – IBISWorld industry report C1133NZ

New Zealand’s producers of cheese, butter and milk powder are heavily export oriented, with almost three-quarters of revenue derived from global markets, according to IBISWorld research.

“The industry is highly exposed to changes in global demand and supply of dairy products, and the price movements that result from these changes,” said Mr Cloutman.

Global dairy prices have increased from their mid-2015 low, when global producers increased production in response to high prices in the previous year.  This caused a global dairy product supply glut, which depressed prices through 2015-16. As demand and supply have since come closer to equilibrium, global dairy prices have risen. This rise is expected to continue through 2017-18, boosting revenue for cheese, butter and milk powder manufacturers by a projected 6.9%.

“A forecast increase in the domestic price of milk is anticipated to contribute marginally to this trend,” added Mr Cloutman.

Superannuation Funds – IBISWorld industry report K6330NZ

A combination of stronger contributions and investment returns is expected to support continued growth in the burgeoning Superannuation Funds industry over 2017-18. IBISWorld expects industry revenue to rise by 6.4% in 2017-18. Industry assets, which is a more accurate indicator of industry performance, is projected to rise by 14.2% over the current financial year.

“The KiwiSaver scheme continues to grow in size as a result of rising membership numbers and contributions since its inception, and is expected to be the main contributor to industry growth. This is due to the scheme being operated on an opt-out basis,” said Mr Cloutman.

Investment revenue for the industry is also anticipated to remain strong, with the NZX 50 projected to continue rising over the current financial year. The 10-year bond rate is forecast to reverse its downward trend, driving greater revenue from fixed-income assets for the various superannuation schemes.

Aged Care Residential Services – IBISWorld industry report Q8601NZ

Revenue in the Aged Care Residential Services industry is expected to increase by 5.0% in 2017-18 due to the growing number of elderly New Zealanders requiring high-level care.

“New business models, an increase in the number of facilities with extra charge contracts and a rise in the number of elderly with higher functional dependency levels have driven the industry’s performance over the past five years,” said Mr Cloutman.

IBISWorld expects these trends to continue in 2017-18, boosting industry revenue to $2.98 billion.


Industries set to fall in 2017-18

Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services – IBISWorld industry report I5100NZ

The Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services industry has struggled with a changing operating environment over the past five years.

“Parcel delivery services have overtaken traditional letter delivery services as a share of the industry. This has led to significant structural change in the industry, as industry firms have shifted their focus towards the burgeoning parcel delivery segment,” said Mr Cloutman.

“Online shopping has expanded significantly over the past five years. Because online retailers need to transport purchased goods to consumers, demand for parcel delivery services from both couriers and postal service providers has risen rapidly over the past five years,” added Mr Cloutman.

According to IBISWorld research, the surge in online shopping has not been sufficient to offset the continued decline in the volume of traditional letters. Demand for letter delivery has fallen as businesses and consumers have shifted to alternative communication methods, such as email, text message, phone calls and social media.

Industry revenue is expected to fall by 2.2% in 2017-18, to total $2.4 billion. Intensifying industry competition is expected to exert downward pressure on revenue performance, as major player NZ Post lacks a dominant share of the growing parcel delivery services segment.


Television Broadcasting – IBISWorld industry report J5620NZ

The Television Broadcasting industry is expected to fall by 5.0% in 2017-18, to $1.5 billion.

“The country’s sole pay-TV provider, Sky Network, has struggled to compete as Netflix has gained a growing share of New Zealand’s media. Sky Network’s industry-specific revenue is projected to fall by 2.7% in 2017-18. The firm’s planned merger with telecommunications firm Vodafone was blocked by the industry regulator early in the year, with the two firms abandoning the merger plans in June,” said Mr Cloutman.

Downstream media buying agencies have flocked to social media, search engines and other forms of online content for advertising as firms have recognised changing media consumption habits among consumers.

State-owned Television New Zealand’s (TVNZ) flagship FTA channels TVNZ1 and TVNZ2 have also struggled due to weaker government funding and falling advertising revenue. The company’s revenue is expected to fall by 3.6% in the current year as these trends continue.


Rail Transport – IBISWorld industry report I4700NZ

IBISWorld expects revenue in the Rail Transport industry to decline by 5.1% in 2017-18 as a result of natural disaster and lost freight volumes.

Industry revenue is primarily generated by KiwiRail’s rail freight transport operations, and the government-owned, profit-oriented entity’s expected negative performance in 2017-18 is anticipated to affect the industry significantly. The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake had a significant effect on KiwiRail. The earthquake damaged several parts of the company’s railway network, such as KiwiRail’s Main North Line transport route in the South Island.

“While parts of the rail network have already been restored, such as between Christchurch and Ferniehurst, Canterbury, the ongoing repair work and the subsequent loss in freight transport volumes is likely to negatively affect the company and the overall industry in 2017-18,” said Mr Cloutman.

However, IBISWorld research found that expected increases in rail passenger trip numbers, through increased investment by the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Auckland Council, is likely to limit industry decline over the year.


Fossil Fuel Electricity Generation – IBISWorld industry report D2611NZ

IBISWorld expects revenue in the Fossil Fuel Electricity Generation industry to fall by 5.9% in 2017-18, to $303.4 million. This follows years of significant declines as coal- and gas-fired power plants have become less prominent players in New Zealand’s energy mix.

“Renewable energy, predominantly hydro, geothermal and wind, accounts for over 85% of electricity generation in New Zealand. With fossil fuel taking up a smaller share, the need for coal-fired plants to provide baseload power has waned,” said Mr Cloutman.

“Gas-fired power plants are diminishing in importance due to hydropower’s ability to provide peaking power during periods of strong demand,” added Mr Cloutman.

In 2017-18, wholesale electricity prices are expected to remain weak due to an oversupply of electricity capacity, which is in stark contrast to Australia’s electricity situation. Profitability for fossil fuel plants is expected to fall to 8.1% in 2017-18, significantly lower than 17.0% for hydro-electric plant operators and 13.1% for geothermal power plants, according to IBISWorld.


Gas Supply – IBISWorld industry report D2700NZ

IBISWorld expects industry revenue to decline by 6.2% in 2017-18. Heightening price competition for final gas users is projected to cause prices to decline as operators compete for market share. In addition, a dip in gas consumption volumes is anticipated over the current year, further contributing to the revenue decline.

“Given the rate of customers switching among gas retailers is expected to increase from already high levels, lower prices will be a key factor for both attracting new customers and retaining existing ones,” said Mr Cloutman. “Expected growth in the use of alternative energy sources and increasing concerns about the environment are likely to hamper demand for gas.”

The Gas Supply industry includes gas distributors and retailers. Distributors own and operate low- and medium-pressure mains and charge fees for their use. Gas retailers sell gas to consumers and pay fees to transporters and distributors for the use of pipelines and gas mains.

IBISWorld reports used to develop this release:

E3019NZ Multi-Unit Apartment and Townhouse Construction in New Zealand

D2619NZ Geothermal, Wind and Other Electricity Generation in New Zealand

C1133NZ Cheese, Butter and Milk Powder Manufacturing in New Zealand

K6330NZ Superannuation Funds in New Zealand

Q8601NZ Aged Care Residential Services in New Zealand

I5100NZ Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services in New Zealand

J5620NZ Television Broadcasting in New Zealand

I4700NZ Rail Transport in New Zealand

D2611NZ Fossil Fuel Electricity Generation in New Zealand

D2700NZ Gas Supply in New Zealand




About IBISWorld

Since 1971, IBISWorld has been providing thoroughly researched, reliable and up-to-date business information and analysis to thousands of companies.

Today, IBISWorld’s team of expert analysts research economic, demographic and government data to provide invaluable insights into New Zealand’s 200+ industries and its key business environment indicators, featuring forecasts, analysis, historical data and key statistics. IBISWorld’s report collection also includes 500+ Australian industry reports and 2000 company reports, as well as a large collection of specialised and on-demand industry reports. Report collections covering international markets are also available.


For more information, to obtain industry reports or to speak with an analyst, please contact:

Kim Do

Strategic Media Advisor – IBISWorld Pty Ltd
Tel: (03) 9906 3641 Mobile: 0422 773 995