Computer services and machinery manufacturing firms led the way in delivering an almost 30 per cent lift in business R&D spending between 2014 and 2016, Statistics NZ says.
The computer services sector had the biggest dollar-value increase, up by 40 per cent, or $125 million, to $436 million.
Computer services firms include New Zealand businesses providing services such as producing and distributing software and web design, Statistics NZ said.
Machinery and equipment manufacturers, spent 37 per cent or $105 million more to total $392 million in 2016.
These firms include high-tech manufacturing firms developing new products and services for sale in New Zealand or overseas.
Total spending on R&D by businesses, government, and higher education was $3.2 billion, up by 20 per cent or $531 million.
R&D in the higher education sector lifted and government R&D had a modest rise, but the bulk of the overall increase was from business spending.
Although the process can take years, R&D paves the way for new and better products or more efficient ways of doing things, Statistics NZ business performance senior manager Daria Kwon said.
“While higher R&D spending is a key driver of economic growth according to some studies, it is not a guarantee that a business will be more creative or profitable.”