Going digital sustained New Zealand MSMEs

Photo by fauxels

As the world hopefully awaits the end of the pandemic, Kiwi small businesses have found a lifeline in digitization to sustain their operations moving forward. This was revealed through a survey by Crazy Domains earlier this year.

COVID-19 has shut down small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) worldwide, but many have held the fort by adopting digital methods, such as creating a website (83 percent), sending business emails (86 percent), having a social media presence (54 percent), and marketing online (36 percent).

Businesses have also leveraged other online platforms, such as video conferencing (41 percent) and social chat (23 percent). Meanwhile, only 22 percent of Kiwi businesses are keen about selling on online marketplaces.

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Gaining a digital presence has become a huge investment for businesses in New Zealand. In fact, SMBs spend more than $2,800 each year on digitization — including hosting, web design and development, email hosting, and online marketing services.

MSME attitudes toward digital transformation

Having an online presence remains to be essential for small businesses and among the stark minority (17 percent) who do not have a business website, 42 percent are keen on building their website themselves, while the majority is willing to outsource the work.

ECommerce seems to be the least in priority for Kiwi SMBs. Among those with business websites, only 16 percent are selling online, while only 18 percent plan to do so in the next 12 months. Apparently, acquiring new customers is not the only reason SMBs launch a business website, but also to increase brand awareness and maintain a professional image.

With rising inflation rates adding to the recent comeback of coronavirus cases, 84 percent of small businesses face the impact of increased business costs. Among eCommerce businesses, more than one-third believes selling online relieves some cost pressure. Meanwhile, half of them agree selling online enables business growth.

For eCommerce businesses, contactless payment options are efficient but not essential. Around 36 percent of them use Tap-to-Pay systems, while 40 percent do not. Meanwhile, 24 percent say these functions are not applicable to their businesses. Kiwis are also not keen on providing buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) payment schemes, with only 8 percent offering them to customers.

Business outlook amidst COVID-19, economic challenges

SMBs react differently when it comes to their business performance in the last 12 months. An equal proportion of businesses believe they performed better or worse than last year. Meanwhile, half of the respondents stated their performance remained the same.

With Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine and the current health crisis, only one-third of Kiwi SMBs are optimistic about doing business over the next 12 months. However, a slight majority (53 percent) are positive New Zealand remains to be a great hub for MSMEs.