Digital nation fail: 91pc of Irish businesses still can’t do e-commerce

29 Oct 2015

Irish consumers spent approximately €4.5bn online in 2014, but 91pc of Irish SMEs missed out on this through ignorance or apathy

On International Internet Day, stark findings have revealed how Irish businesses are in danger of being left behind, with 91pc of SMEs unable to process sales online and 54pc with websites that are not optimised for mobile.

More than a third of Irish SMEs still do not even have a website, according to a survey of firms by the IE Domain Registry (IEDR).

This is despite the fact that:

  • Some of the world’s biggest internet giants have headquarters in Ireland, from Google to Microsoft, Facebook and Apple
  • The internet’s governing body ICANN held its annual meeting in Dublin for the first time last week
  • Irish consumers spent approximately €4.5bn online in 2014, with three-quarters of this online spend going outside of Ireland
  • One of the world’s biggest coding movements, CoderDojo, began in Cork in 2011 with 800 dojos active in 60 countries
  • An Irishman called Dennis Jennings made critical decisions in the 1980s that made the internet possible.

Simply put, Ireland’s business community is collectively a bit of a damp squib in digital terms.

A serious deficit in e-commerce terms

“Ireland is a world-renowned technology hub and we attract some of the best talent and best companies in the world,” said IEDR chief executive David Curtin

“While this is a great thing, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the profound contributions Irish academics, engineers and businesspeople have made to the expansion of the global interconnected internet.”

Curtin said the IEDR’s findings represent a serious deficit.

“37pc of Irish SMEs have no online presence whatsoever, while 91pc cannot process sales online. In November, we will have a further update on these figures.”

Despite the figures, Ireland has a strong and passionate internet community and more than 100,000 people in the country work in the local and international technology sector.

To celebrate International Internet Day, the IEDR is hosting a free public exhibition, The History and Future of the Internet in Ireland, at chq Building in the IFSC, which will run from today (29 October) until Friday 6 November.

“We hope that members of the public will take a moment to visit the exhibition and gain a deeper insight into how we, as a country, use the internet, and remember some of the Irish men, women and businesses behind it.”

Cut-off from e-commerce image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years