Safety concerns, availability of items and worries about delivery times prompt early Christmas shopping surge.

Around one-third of Irish consumers – around 1.2m people – are Christmas shopping earlier this year due to lockdown, new data from PayPal reveals.

The study, conducted by Censuswide and involving more than 1,000 consumers in Ireland, found that the top reasons for starting shopping earlier are concerns over the availability of items (46pc) and worries about delivery times (45pc).

“As we approach Christmas, the shift towards digital and contactless payments is even more prevalent than normal”

Some 45pc of those starting their shopping earlier also said they are doing so in order to avoid the stress of last-minute buying, while more than a quarter (27pc) admitted they would prefer not to visit shops in person when they open.

Furthermore, according to the survey, people on average expect to buy nearly half (49pc) of their Christmas presents online this year.

Buying locally

The research also revealed that 62pc of Irish consumers were making more of an effort to buy locally and from smaller retailers during the latest lockdown.

Four in five (80pc) respondents said their main reason for spending more with local retailers this Christmas is to support them during Covid-19.

On average, Irish consumers will spend €541 on Christmas gifts. The biggest spending counties were found to be Louth (€1079), Westmeath (€870), and Leitrim (€853).

“Lockdown has completely transformed how people are spending their money and it is interesting to see how many people are shopping earlier,” explained Maeve Dorman, vice-president of Merchant Operations at PayPal.

“As we approach Christmas – the busiest shopping period of the year which is well underway following Black Friday and Cyber Monday – the shift towards digital and contactless payments is even more prevalent than normal.

“As well as more of a reliance on online shopping, which will only continue to grow, our research shows that Irish consumers are planning to spend more with local and smaller retailers this year. It’s fantastic to see that community spirit is alive and well in Ireland, particularly during these more difficult times. We hope that these businesses can take full advantage of the Christmas spending boom by offering a safe, convenient and customer-friendly experience both in-store and online.

“Christmas 2020 will no doubt be different to previous years, however it will still see people seeking to take advantage of any online offerings, supporting their favourite stores and shopping carefully for special gifts – probably even more so than before,” Dorman said.

  • With more than 60pc of Irish e-commerce spend going overseas, it is vital we support local SMEs. In recent weeks ThinkBusiness highlighted up to 140 Irish businesses in the areas of toys, food, drinks, health and nutrition, sports and fitness, clothing and fashion and beauty. Click here to read the Ultimate Guide to Buy Irish this Christmas

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 2 December, 2020

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