Online shopping among Irish adults still an exploding scene

27 Jun 2017

Image: Nong Mars/Shutterstock

The figures tell the story: 81pc of Irish adults are now shopping online, with that tally consistently rising.

The latest research into Irish adoption of e-commerce shows that digital is quickly becoming king. According to iReach’s study, 81pc of Irish adults are now shopping on their phones or computers, with the low prices available online a growing attraction.

Surveying 1,000 people in Ireland, 67pc identified pricing as the main reason to shop online, up from 56pc last November, with choice actually falling from 55pc to 48pc in the same time period.

Women are more likely to go down the online route, though both sexes come in at more than three-quarters. Meanwhile, there are no surprises behind age demographics: the younger the person, the more likely they are to shop online.

The reasons behind why people are reluctant to shop online include security, a perceived difficulty in returning products, and not being able to try garments on before purchase.

Considering that online shopping for clothes is such a big thing now, this concern should be a worry for retailers.

Stat attack

“The stats are there to show the opportunity that exists, so the appetite to engage with digital commerce is huge,” Ciaran Bollard, MD at Kooomo, recently said.

“But it’s not always matched by the necessary understanding of how to execute and how to optimise digital.”

There are some companies thriving, though. Smartbox Group is one of the biggest online gift voucher firms in Europe, with €1bn worth of business created in 2016 and 6.5m gifts purchased across 10 countries.

Now, with 2,000 sq ft added to its office in Dublin, Smartbox is set for an expansion, which will create 100 jobs and bring the company’s total number of employees above 500 by the end of this year.

However, even those of us who shop in actual stores are not free from the reach of e-commerce.

Last month, Google revealed that its latest analytics incorporate data from 70pc of credit and debit card transactions in the US, thanks to strategic third-party partnerships.

This is a serious upping of the monitoring ante by Google, which has been able to track users through its Maps function for years now.

Online or offline?

That said, digital isn’t necessarily better.

After years of dominating the e-commerce space, Amazon has made it clear that it is now looking to move into the bricks-and-mortar world as well. Next target: supermarkets.

Amazon recently revealed that it has agreed to buy luxury brand supermarket Whole Foods for $13.7bn, giving it incredible reach with more than 460 stores across North America and the UK.

However, that doesn’t hide the push towards online in Ireland. 70pc of those shopping online in the country do so to purchase clothes, 59pc are buying tickets, 40pc buy books and 38pc are buying technology.

The latter, surprisingly, is a drop in the past six months, but, with the overall trend on the up, it’s high time every business ensures its online presence is suitable.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic