Irish online retail sales slowed in January

Digital commerce understandably slowed in Ireland after Christmas but are still up since before the pandemic.

The proportion of retail sales conducted by Irish people online fell to 5.8% in January, compared with 9.7% during the Christmas sales rush, according to new data from the Central Statistics Office.

The proportion of retail sales conducted by Irish people online fell to 5.8% in January, compared with 9.7% during the Christmas sales rush, according to new data from the Central Statistics Office.

“Before the pandemic, in December 2019, 7.3% of Clothing, Footwear and Textile sales were generated online. This increased to 66.3% of total sales in the sector in April 2020 during the first lockdown”

It also marked a considerable fall from the 11% rate recorded in January 2021, but up from 3.2% in January 2020 before the outbreak of Covid-19.

The results are based on sales by retail outlets resident in Ireland. 

A digital island

online retail data Ireland.

Percentage of Turnover generated by Online Sales for All Retail Sales and All Retail Sales excluding Motor Trades, Fuel and Bars

In December 2019, the proportion of retail sales generated online for All Retail Businesses was 4.1%. In the first three months of 2020, the share of online sales continued at 3.2% in January, 3.5% in February and 4.5% in March.

Following the first lockdown on 27 March 2020, the share of online sales increased dramatically. Online sales represented 15.3% of total turnover in April 2020.

There were similar but less dramatic increases in the share of online sales in subsequent lockdowns. Ireland was placed under Level 5 restrictions for six weeks from Wednesday 21 October 2020 and was again placed under Level 5 restrictions on 31 December 2020. Following these restrictions, the share of online sales was 12.4% in November 2020, 11.0% in January 2021 and 11.8% in February 2021.

online retail sales in Ireland.

Percentage of turnover generated by Online Sales for selected Retail Sectors

When Motor Trades, Automotive Fuel and Bars are excluded, the share of online retail sales in December 2019 was 6.6%. This figure increased to 22.7% of total sales in April 2020 during the first lockdown. In the subsequent lockdowns, the online share was 18.7% in November 2020, 16.1% in January 2021 and 17.6% in February 2021.

Before the pandemic, in December 2019, 7.3% of Clothing, Footwear and Textile sales were generated online. This increased to 66.3% of total sales in the sector in April 2020 during the first lockdown. In the subsequent lockdowns, the online share was 67.1% in November 2020, 62.7% in January 2021 and 65.9% in February 2021. In the final months of 2021, the online share of sales in the Clothing, Footwear and Textiles was 9.6% in October, 14.7% in November and 8.8% in December. 

In Department Stores, 5.0% of sales were generated online in December 2019, before the pandemic. In April 2020, this had increased to 51.1%.

The subsequent lockdowns saw the online share of sales by Department Stores reach 28.8% in November 2020, followed by 26.9%, 35.8% and 28.5% over the course of January, February and March 2021.

In the Household Equipment sector, 8.3% of sales were generated online in December 2019, before the pandemic. This rose to 42.6% in April 2020, followed by 20.5% in November 2020 and 15.3%, 17.7% and 16.8% in January, February and March 2021.

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

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