Kiwi companies technology laggards: survey

business technology, pricing strategyNew Zealand small businesses are technology laggards compared to their peers in a swag of other countries in the Asia-Pacific, according to a regional survey.

The CPA Australia’s 2017 Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey suggests Kiwi firms are comparatively complacent about the risk of cyberattacks, less geared up for digital sales, have the second-lowest level of expected product innovation – with only Australia lower – and low percentages of revenue received from digital payment options.

New Zealand firms also stand out for having the lowest export sales growth expectations in the region.

The CPA Australia survey of business conditions for small businesses in 2017 took its results from 2952 businesses across Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Of these, 606 were Chinese, 511 were Australian, and 306 were New Zealand SMEs.

The survey also found a marked drop in business confidence among New Zealand SMEs, but the authors suggest this was likely a reflection of uncertainty created by the fact a new government was being created at the time.

More positively, New Zealand SMEs recorded their best results for growth and growth expectations since 2014, outperforming Australia and Singapore.

New Zealand SME owners were also more satisfied than the average for the survey, with 32 per cent very satisfied versus 23 per cent across the region.

However, the report found “New Zealand’s small businesses continue to be significantly less likely to use social media for business purposes, compared with businesses from Asia, with 40.8 per cent stating that they do not use social media”.

That compared to only 4.8 per cent in mainland China.

They also continued to be significantly less likely to earn revenue from online sales, with 52.6 per cent reporting no income from that source, compared with 6.8 per cent of Chinese businesses.

At 2.6 per cent, New Zealand’s small businesses were “the most prudent in their adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a payment option”, and only 19.6 per cent saw a cyber attack as likely, compared with a survey average of 45.6 per cent.

The IDC report for Microsoft, also published on Thursday, predicts digital products and services will add an estimated $9.6 billion to New Zealand’s gross domestic product, and increase GDP growth by 0.7 per cent annually by 2021.

“Within the next four years, it is predicted that 55 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP will be derived from digital products and services created through using digital technologies, Microsoft New Zealand national technology officer Russell Craig said.


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