NZ Digital Economy - $46 billion opportunity - Unlocking NZ’s Digital potential

08 Apr 2021 1:16 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

If fully leveraged, digital technologies could add $46.6 billion to New Zealand’s economy by 2030. This could have a significant material impact on society as it is equivalent to 14% of New Zealand’s GDP today, or the combined GDP supported by Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay. Of this value, NZ$17.1 billion could come from technologies that help mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The report talks to eight transformative technologies and the strong economic potential they bring to New Zealand industries including, but not limited to, Artificial Intelligence (AI) which can be used to drive data-based public health interventions, Mobile Internet to help digitise retail distribution channels, and the Internet of Things (IoT) for use in supply chain tracking. 

Caroline Rainsford, New Zealand Country Director of Google, says, “Overall New Zealand has weathered the storm of the COVID-19 crisis well, and we are starting to see the economy rebound on the back of policies that have protected businesses and kept unemployment relatively low. However, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed the over-reliance of our economy on low-productivity, low-value exports.

“As we rebuild for the post-pandemic future, digital transformation has become an imperative, as it lifts prosperity, and prosperity lifts well-being. We need to unlock this potential in order to drive a significant difference by 2030.”

In order to fully leverage the opportunities presented by digital transformation, the report has identified three main pillars of action New Zealand could take including:

  • supporting technology adoption in key industries
  • upskilling the current workforce and future talent
  • promoting digital export opportunities

Google’s Contribution
Rainsford says, while there is huge potential for New Zealand, a lot of positive work has already been done in this area within the last year. She says, “Through this report we’ve also been able to demonstrate some of the ways that Google’s tools and services are already benefiting New Zealand’s digital economy. We’re humbled that Kiwi businesses and wider society derive over NZD$6 billion in annual benefits, through increased revenues and millions of connections online.”

The report also shares stories of local businesses that have successfully adapted to the challenges of COVID-19 by proactively embracing the opportunities provided by digital adoption. Kiwi-founded eco-friendly beauty company Ethique was borne out of a desire to do things differently. With ambition to create better products for the bathroom and to save plastic from landfill, online advertising enabled them to easily reach a global audience - validating its global potential. 

Key findings: 

  • Kiwi businesses derive $3 billion in annual benefits from Google tools and services, through increased revenues, millions of connections with customers and greater efficiencies, saving time and money
  • Consumers receive $3.5 billion in annual benefits by experiencing greater convenience, access to information, and enhanced productivity
  • Kiwi app developers earn $30.7 million in annual revenue through Google Play reaching over 1 billion users globally
  • Search saves users almost 5 days a year (i.e a whole working week!), and drivers save 4.1 hours per year using Google Maps to optimise their driving journeys
The report was commissioned by Google New Zealand, prepared by Alphabeta and peer reviewed by NZ economist Andrew Sweet.