Google Report: Digital Transformation is the Route to Economic Recovery

According to a new report commissioned by Google New Zealand, digital transformation could create up to NZ$46.6billion in annual economic value by 2030.

This could have a significant material impact on society as it is equivalent to 14 percent of New Zealand’s GDP today, or the combined GDP supported by Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay. Of this value, NZ$17.1billion 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.

“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,” commented Caroline Rainsford, New Zealand Country Director of Google.

“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.”

To fully leverage the opportunities presented by digital transformation, the report has identified three main pillars of action New Zealand could take. This includes supporting technology adoption in key industries, upskilling the current workforce and future talent, as well as promoting digital export opportunities.

Rainsford noted that while there is huge potential for New Zealand, a lot of positive work has already been done in this area within the last year.

“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$6billion 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 an 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.

“Much to my amazement, the demand for Ethique products rose quickly, which spurred me on to sell our zero-waste solid shampoo bars to a wider global audience through online advertising. Leveraging Google Ads made it super easy for potential customers to find Ethique when searching for zero-waste beauty products,” said Founder Brianne West, who holds a long-term passion for protecting the environment.

“Now, we promote a range of solid hair, face, body and household cleaning products in 21 countries across the world. At the same time, we recently achieved our goal of preventing ten million plastic bottles saved from ending up in landfill, and our next goal is to make that half a billion by 2030.”