The Irish are the eBay scavengers of Europe

4 Jun 2009

A European study reveals that the Irish are making good use of the recession to hunt for bargains on eBay, outpacing their European neighbours for stay-at-home beauty treatments, frugal shopping and back-garden entertaining.

“With the demise of the Celtic tiger, the Irish have become increasingly value-conscious,” said Carey Maguire from

“However, they clearly don’t want to discard any of life’s little luxuries, and are increasingly looking to sites such as for some self-service satisfaction.

“Looking at these statistics, it is clear to see that the Irish shopper is streets ahead of their European counterparts when it comes to getting the biggest bang for their buck, be it for pampering at home, buying some fabulous clothes or entertaining out back. In fact, we Irish are so value hungry that since the budget announcement in April, listings have risen by over 19pc.”

The Europe-wide survey shows Italy is the fake-tan capital of Europe, selling twice as much as Italy and Austria combined last year. The UK has the greenest fingers in Europe, buying more plants, bulbs and seeds than any other country, while the Polish buy the most retro inspired clothing.

While sales of health and beauty products are up Europe-wide, it would appear that Irish women are far less likely to compromise their beauty regimes than their continental cousins during the recession.

Health and beauty sales are up by 44pc in Ireland, dwarfing the European average of 4pc. It seems that Irish women are ditching the salon and adopting a do-it-yourself attitude, with sales of manicure and pedicure products up a massive 101pc compared to a less polished 30pc in the United Kingdom.

Irish women also seem to be the most prepared to bare all this summer, with sales of hair-removal products growing by 64pc, as opposed to a less smooth 17pc in France. Similarly, cellulite treatments and exfoliators are flying off the virtual shelves, with a rise of 75pc and 61pc respectively.

The recession doesn’t seem to have stamped out Europe’s flare for fashion, with sales in clothing and accessories swelling by 6pc on last year’s figures across the continent. Ireland is once again the leader of the pack, with value-hungry fashionistas scrambling to at a 19pc increase over last year.

In the women’s clothing category alone, sales are on a par with France, with growth of over 30pc. Economic uncertainty doesn’t appear to be ruining brides big days either. Sales of wedding dresses have bloomed by 31pc and bridal accessories have blossomed by 64pc. 

The credit crunch hasn’t diminished the Irish party spirit either, with sales in fancy- dress clothing sky rocketing by an average of 82pc between men and women, the highest in Europe. Perhaps the rest of Europe doesn’t share our sense of fun, as the UK was the only other country to report a rise.

The unending Irish optimism for a long, hot summer doesn’t appear to have been dampened by pinched purse strings. Instead of hopping abroad for some R&R, it appears that we are intending on spending far more time in our gardens.

In the hopes of lolling around luscious green lawns, sales of weed and pest control have risen by 96pc. In what appears to be a move to spending more time entertaining in the back garden, sales of garden lighting have lit up by 65pc.

Tending to the back yard is a rising trend throughout Europe, with sales of garden furniture in Italy up by 50pc and greenhouses up by 71pc in France.

In a bid to be more self-sufficient while saving a few pennies doing the weekly shop, Irish sales of plants, seeds and bulbs have shot up by 127pc on last year. This overshadows a paltry 18pc in Belgium, showing that the Irish are creating vegetable patches and growing their own produce.

By John Kennedy