Profile of the Irish digital consumer: big fan of comparing company deals online

30 Aug 2013

Vicky Godolphin, head of digital and marketing services, Accenture, which carried out the digital consumer survey with UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

How are consumers in Ireland embracing the digital age, and turning to the internet to snatch the best offers? A new survey out today reveals that up to 82pc of Irish consumers are now using the net to compare offers by different companies, and they’re not afraid to switch brands quickly, either.

The research survey, Irish Digital Consumer, was carried out by Accenture and UCD (University College Dublin) Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s MSc in international management. A total of 207 respondents completed the web-distributed survey between March and April.

In relation to checking out offers from companies and service providers, more than 90pc of those surveyed said they would be likely to switch providers if offered a better deal.

Future Human

On the flip side, however, it would seem that companies are struggling to keep apace with consumers’ digital hunger.

The online space and incentives to buy from brands

The research reveals that only 30pc of Irish companies are offering online incentives.

Information-gathering is the chief reason given by those surveyed for using digital channels. The capacity to purchase items and services fully online ranked fifth in their list of priorities.

When it comes to purchasing, 38pc of those surveyed claim to buy something online once a week, with 55pc appearing to purchase something once a month.

Data privacy

Consumers are still concerned about data privacy when dealing with the online superstore.

The research does suggest, however, that if companies engage with customers by explaining what they are doing with the data, consumers’ concerns soften a bit.

Of those surveyed, however, 40pc said they would be willing to give their personal data to companies in exchange for targeted deals.

The research also points to how offering more incentives will spur internet users to interact exclusively online.

Marketing and strategy

Marketing strategy image via Shutterstock

The likelihood of consumers dealing exclusively with brands online lessens with age, however. The 15-44 age cohort would be 91pc more likely than the 55-64-year-old age bracket (67pc) to migrate to shopping fully via the internet.

It also seems that Irish consumers not afraid to stand up for themselves on the internet.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63pc) said they are likely to publicly complain when they have had a bad experience. And, social media channels are the No 1 forum for consumers with grievances.

Finally, the survey also looked at areas where companies could be missing the opportunity to connect with their consumers. There are opportunities for Irish companies to capitalise on the use of mobile apps and social media.

Keeping the consumer happy

While 44pc of those surveyed feel loyal to their providers, 75pc said they would tend to feel more loyal when offered access to a reward programme.

“Companies more than ever need to make a real effort to understand and connect with their customers,” said Vicky Godolphin, head of digital and marketing services, Accenture Management Consulting Ireland.

 “It is vital to have a digital strategy that is implemented and owned by all parts of the organisation.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic