Westpac Counters New Zealand’s Impulse Spending Addiction with Impulse Saver

Westpac has launched an innovative impulse savings product to help New Zealanders save as impulsively as they spend.  Impulse Saver, a free iPhone app developed for Westpac by Colenso BBDO, enables customers to save denominations of their choice up to $50 with a simple click of a button.

The product is believed to be the first of its kind in the world and its availability follows a recent Westpac survey of more than 500 New Zealanders that showed Kiwis spend $16.1 million a day on impulse and less than half (49%) have a savings account.

“Collectively there was a desire to do it through innovation, as opposed to communication,” says Nick Garrett, Managing Director of Colenso BBDO “We played a clip from the 2009 TED conference, during which Ogilvy UK Vice-Chairman Rory Sutherland lamented our lack of ability to save as impulsively as we spend. Westpac immediately loved the concept and said it was something they could, and should, do something about.”


In the spirit of TED, whose mantra is ‘Ideas worth Spreading’, Colenso BBDO developed the product in consultation with Sutherland and Westpac’s online team.

“I am delighted that Colenso BBDO and Westpac thought that my suggestion for impulse saving was an ‘Idea Worth Spreading’,” says Sutherland. “NZ seems to be a country which adopts and enacts ideas when everyone else is merely toying with them.”

David McLean, General Manager Wealth, Insurance, Private and Institutional Banking, says the Impulse Saver for iPhone App makes it easy for users to save on a whim instead of simply spending on a whim. “It’s simple to use, convenient and provides choice and opportunity. When you’re waiting in line to pay at the petrol station or in the supermarket you can save up to $50 with a couple of clicks on the app.  It doesn’t get much easier than pushing a button.”

The Impulse Saver app is available free from the App Store via iPhone, wi-fi enabled iPod Touch or iPad devices.


  • $16.1m on impulse spending per day
  • $674,000 on impulse spending per hour

Where most impulse spending is done

  • Supermarkets 56%
  • Fast food outlets 20.50%
  • Café 20.10%
  • Dairies   16.2%




Have a savings account and how often use it?

  • No (don’t have a savings account) 13.45%
  • Yes, but haven’t put anything in it for a while 16.18%
  • Yes, only occasionally put money in it 19.69%
  • Yes, regularly put money in 50.68%

What they impulse spent on

  • A raspberry liquorice chocolate log while paying for petrol
  • Went to the supermarket for 1-2 items but bought treats
  • Cake at the café with lunch
  • 6 chocolate bars for $3

Savings Record – New Zealand vs. The World

  • NZ is 23rd out of 29 in the OECD for national savings rate (household, business, Government). Those below NZ are Slovak Republic, USA, Hungary, Iceland, Portugal, Greece)
  • NZ households owe, on average, $1.60 for every $1 earned
  • Treasury says our low savings contributes to NZ’s undeveloped capital markets, high average interest rates, and high debt levels and leaves us exposed to the risk of falling foreign-investor confidence.

Survey conducted by Buzz Channel Group.

One thought on “Westpac Counters New Zealand’s Impulse Spending Addiction with Impulse Saver

  1. Pingback: Video Bog: live from a Paris toilette « The Goat Farm

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