E-commerce on a trajectory to be Ireland’s preferred shopping mode

38% of people expect to increase their online spending, new data suggests.

E-commerce is set to continue on upward trajectory according to research commissioned by Digital Business Ireland and domain registry .IE, and conducted by Ireland Thinks.

As part of the survey, respondents were asked to disclose if they intended to increase or decrease their online spending in 2022, or whether they anticipated a change in expenditure at all.

“Digital consumers are all ages and genders, from all over Ireland, and represent the full spectrum of purchasing power”

Based on a nationally representative sample, collected from a group of over 30,000 panellists, more than two-thirds (38%) of people said they expected to increase their online spending.

The only way is up

46% of people under the age of 45 said they planned to moderately or significantly increase their online expenditure.

Men are set to outspend women online this year – with 42% of men saying they will increase their online spend, compared to 34% of women.

43% of people across the Connaught-Ulster region will spend online this year, with Munster at 39% and Dublin lagging behind at 36%.

Across the income brackets, 40% of those earning between €50,000 and €80,000 will increase online expenditure.

Just 2% of those earning more than €80,000 intend to reduce their online spending.

Secretary general of Digital Business Ireland Lorraine Higgins said the findings have come as no surprise to Digital Business Ireland, which through working with its network of 6,000 businesses, has witnessed first-hand, the seismic shift in the Irish consumer landscape, as e-commerce continues on its upward trajectory, with little sign of slowing down. Equally, businesses across Ireland have embraced the numerous opportunities offered by pivoting their operations online. 

“Today’s findings mark the first in our Digital Insights series, aimed at gaining valuable information into the prevailing opinions of Irish consumers towards shopping online,” Higgins said.

“Evidently, the exponential growth of e-commerce looks set to continue in 2022, with consumers, across a range of demographics, set to increase their online expenditure. The numerous benefits of  online shopping are unparalleled, and our research suggests that consumers have wholeheartedly embraced the flexibility that it provides.

“In addition, our survey shows that people living in the regions, such as Connaught and Ulster look set to spend more online than those living in high density cities or urban areas. This is testament to the convenient nature of ‘delivery to your doorstep’ shopping. This further aligns with the experience of high-income earners, who though financially independent, are not ‘time rich’ and have therefore come to rely on online stores and the seamless experience they provide.”

Oonagh McCutcheon, Corporate Communications Manager at .IE, and National Director of the .IE Digital Town Programme, said that the pandemic has accelerated many important trends in consumer behaviour, including a shift in retail purchasing preferences from the physical shop to the digital storefront.

“These findings tell us that it is not wise for business owners or policymakers to divide Irish consumers along stereotypical lines, such as age or geography. Ireland is a small, connected country, and ideas, attitudes, and best practices are learned and quickly adopted. This connectedness means that nearly all Irish consumers are used to spending online. They have a well-formed idea of what a seamless online experience looks and feels like.

“Furthermore, the demographic diversity of online consumers proves that it is no longer possible for businesses, Irish or international, to build a one-size-fits-all e-commerce experience. Digital consumers are all ages and genders, from all over Ireland, and represent the full spectrum of purchasing powe,” McCutcheon said.

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.