The New Zealand economy could grow by at least 5 per cent if all Kiwi businesses owned a website, a year-long study of the nation's digital economy has shown.
An MYOB report into New Zealand's e-commerce economy has revealed that in the last year businesses with a website earned and sold significantly more than those who didn't have an online presence.
The study of more than 1000 businesses was conducted in the year to April 2011 and found 5 - 9 per cent more businesses with a website saw revenue growth, than those without.
Of those without an online presence, a staggering 70 per cent said they had no plans to establish a business website.
MYOB's general manager Julian Smith said New Zealand's low participation in the online economy was holding the country back from significant economic benefits.
Currently less than a third of local businesses have their own website and just 9 per cent sell their products or services online.
"Although 2 per cent more businesses have gone online in the last 12 months, unless we see a rapid change in the number of businesses establishing an online presence, we are missing a real opportunity to transform the economy."
New Zealand's most connected businesses were in the manufacturing and wholesale sector (58 per cent) and the retail and hospitality industry (53 per cent).
Just 6 per cent of the country's primary sector was online.
By region Tasman/West Coast had the highest per centage of businesses online (43 per cent), followed by Auckland on 42 per cent.
The least connected businesses were in Northland (21 per cent) and Taranaki (22 per cent).
The Canterbury region was not included in this survey because of the Christchurch earthquake.
Smith said many New Zealand business owners recognised the opportunities the online economy could bring, but lacked the drive to get online themselves.
"Much of the developed world is looking for and buying from businesses online.
"Even locally 66 per cent of customers research a business online before making a purchase.
"Unfortunately, despite that massive demand, the majority of local businesses are nowhere to be found in the global online economy."