“The percentage of firms aiming to come up with better goods and services rose significantly – to a 49% ‘innovation rate’ in 2015,” senior manager Stuart Jones said.
“This means that almost one in two firms spent on improving products and processes, research and development (R&D), design, and new ways of marketing.”
The largest growth in R&D spending was for medium-sized firms – those with 20 to 99 staff. Their R&D spending grew 19% (to $434.6 million) compared with 2014.
Large firms (with more than 100 employees) invested almost $800 million in R&D, up 15% from 2014.
The survey also showed that experienced managers and high-quality goods and services were the keys to exporting for firms. Technical know-how, economies of scale, and lower input costs were seen as the least important factors.
While only 7.8 % of business reported trading with China in 2015, there has still been a 60% lift in exports of goods and services to China since 2011 (to $10.9 billion in 2015). Australia remained a key market for many New Zealand firms.
The top three destinations for firms selling goods and services overseas remained Australia (21.1 % of New Zealand businesses), the United States (10.7 %), and the United Kingdom (8.7 per cent).
Download the full 16 page report here.