Irish online shopping in Ireland peaked on Monday 1 December with over 112,000 transactions valued at €22.6m – equating to €942,000 an hour spent by online shoppers.
According to figures from Realex Payments, the online channel appears to be bucking the current downward trends by continuing to experience positive growth figures.
Realex Payments processed transactions valued at a staggering €4.9bn for the year to date, increasing from €3.4bn for the same period in 2007.
Despite challenging economic conditions globally, the online industry is still on the up, with the number of transactions processed by Realex Payments increasing by almost 31pc over the same period in 2007.
So far in 2008, the company has processed in excess of 26 million transactions, up from 18 million transactions for the same period last year. The growth in online sales is further reinforced by the recent announcement of US internet retailing company, CNS Stores, creating 200 jobs at its European base in Galway.
Realex Payments estimates that by year end it will have processed in excess of 30 million transactions – taking into account seasonal high transaction volumes, which will be experienced in December.
‘Cyber Monday’, as it’s referred to in the online trade, is the Monday after ‘Black Friday’ in the US (the day after Thanksgiving).
Cyber Monday is one of the last days to shop online ensuring delivery prior to Christmas.
“The online marketplace offers a huge opportunity for organisations to reach new customers and increase sales in new regions, which is particularly important in challenging times we’re currently experiencing,” explained Colm Lyon, founder and managing director of Realex Payments.
“It’s not only large businesses that can benefit from the online sales channel, the internet enables companies of all sizes to sell to the global marketplace in a cost-effective manner.”
In 2008, the average value of transactions processed per day by Realex Payments has almost doubled, reaching €15.3m, compared to the average daily spend online in 2007, which was €7.9m.
The number of people starting to sell online is also increasing. Realex Payments sign up on average 82 new clients each month, but peaked at 104 clients in October, reinforcing the fact that the online channel is still a very attractive option for most businesses to increase sales.
Despite the economic slowdown, people are still showing their charitable side, with online donations to charities increasing by 45pc.
Annual trends indicate that charitable donations peak around the Christmas period, so statistics for December should further reinforce this.
The online marketplace offers more opportunity for consumers to seek out a bargain, and as such, the sector has seen an increase of 40pc over the same period in 2007. Over 1.5 million transactions made through online retailers.
The number of insurance policies purchased online (both car and health insurance policies) increased by 41pc. With many insurance companies offering big discounts for purchasing via their website, more and more people are purchasing their insurance online.
The number of consumers paying their utility bills online or via their utility provider’s call centre has increased by over 100pc.
Despite difficult conditions for many involved in the travel sector, there is still a substantial amount of flights, hotel rooms and holidays being sold online – figures from Realex Payments show an increase of 46pc in the number of bookings made online. Tied to these sales, online car rentals also showed an increase of 43pc.
By John Kennedy