Today’s Irish online shopper is typically a well-educated male or female aged between 16 and 30 years of age, a survey of over 1,000 online shoppers has revealed.
Nearly half of those surveyed shop online every month.
The online survey was conducted by Irish e-payments company 3V Vouchers, which has over 100,000 customers using its disposable credit card service.
The survey revealed that around 57pc of Irish online shoppers are single. Around 27pc are educated to degree level.
The survey also found that 93pc of online shoppers possess a bank or building society account and 46pc have their own, or access to, a credit card.
Around 95pc of those surveyed said they are currently shopping online. Of these 43pc said they shop online every month, 17pc do so every week and 2pc shop online every day.
Leisure and hobby purchases rather than practical necessities were highlighted as the principal focus for online shopping, with male shoppers concentrating on buying CDs, DVDs and computer gadgets while female consumers opt for buying holidays, flights, tickets and gifts.
3V Vouchers allow consumers to access online shopping via prepaid vouchers that have a disposable 16-digit VISA number. The vouchers can be bought at participating Payzone shops in the same way consumers currently purchase credit for their mobile phones.
According to 3V, over 100,000 customers in Ireland and the UK have registered for the service and the company is about to expand the service into Europe.
The 3V survey found that the most compelling reasons for using the voucher service are that they are easy to use (21pc), while 33pc of shoppers use the vouchers as an alternative to getting a credit card.
The most significant reason, however, was increased demand by Irish shoppers for increased security during online transactions.
With the introduction of Chip and PIN technology on the high street, fraudsters are increasingly focusing on the Internet through card-not-present (CNP) fraud.
Retailers who process transactions online are leaving themselves open to chargebacks being made against them by the genuine owners of stolen cards, or unscrupulous cardholders, as they cannot verify the cardholder’s identity at the point of sale.
According to the ATM Industry Association CNP Fraud increased by over 21pc across Europe during 2006.
3V’s chief executive Keiron Guilfoyle explained that the company is planning a pan-European marketing campaign.
Guilfoule said: “3V vouchers are now viewed not only as a route to online shopping, away from the traditional credit card method, but they also appeal as deterrents to online fraud and as a method of spend management.
“With Visa currently estimating the prepaid market to be worth €1.4bn we are keen to continue to develop our understanding of our customers and their requirements,” Guilfoyle said.
By John Kennedy