Auckland companies are missing out on vital revenue as a result of not having their own websites, new research suggests.
The latest MYOB Business Monitor, a national survey of 1000 small and medium-sized companies conducted by Colmar Brunton, says only 38 per cent of businesses in New Zealand's biggest city operate their own website.
That's the highest level of website use in the country, according to the research.
The survey said only 31 per cent of Wellington firms had a website, while just 27 per cent of Christchurch businesses had one.
But accounting software firm MYOB, which commissioned the research, said that as an international centre, Auckland still had one of lowest levels of website use in the OECD group of developed countries.
MYOB's New Zealand general manager, Julian Smith, said the survey indicated a large proportion of Auckland firms that did not have an online presence did not intend to establish one.
"They haven't made the connection between the way consumers search for information and shop in 2012 versus how they did that 10 years ago," Smith said.
He said that while 38 per cent of Auckland firms had a website, 65 per cent of Aucklanders shopped online.
"It doesn't make sense [not to have a website]," he said.
"The fastest way for Auckland businesses to grow, in my view, is to create a bigger digital economy."
Unsurprisingly, Smith said the survey indicated that younger business owners were more likely than older ones to have a website.
Bigger businesses also had a higher level of website use than smaller firms, he added.
According to the survey, 29 per cent of Auckland businesses reported a lift in revenue as a result of having a website.
A further 33 per cent reported improved customer interaction, while 40 per cent reported increased inquiries from prospective clients, the survey said.
It also said 35 per cent of Auckland firms reported that their website had made them more competitive.
"When you look at all the data you see that the businesses that are doing best are the ones that have websites," Smith said.
"The single biggest issue that I think businesses don't get is that you're invisible to most of the market if you don't have an online presence and having a website is the best way to control your online presence."
The survey also found Auckland businesses were the biggest users of social media such as Facebook, with 27 per cent of firms in the city using the medium, compared with 24 per cent in Wellington and 17 per cent in Christchurch.