Pandemic drove many people to online shopping for first time

More than three-quarters of Irish consumers bought products online during the pandemic.

A quarter of Irish consumers bought or consumed online services for the first time during the pandemic, a study commissioned by payments giant PayPal has revealed.

Not only that but during this time more than three-quarters (76pc) of consumers bought products online.

“Digital has become the new normal for buying both goods and, increasingly, services”

The study, conducted by Ipsos and involving 2,000 consumers in Ireland, found that a third (33pc) of people plan to buy more products or services online going forward, compared to before Covid-19. Over half (51pc) said they can buy everything online without any issues.

In terms of the most popular services purchased by Irish consumers, call/video call services took the top spot, followed by video on-demand subscriptions and music subscriptions.

Consumers enjoy convenience of digital commerce

The most popular online product purchased during lockdown was clothing/shoes/accessories.

“Irish businesses need to step up and ensure that they are able to deliver an online offering equipped with a simple checkout process and secure payment option”

Some 86pc of Irish consumers found benefits to buying online during the Covid-19 crisis. Home delivery availability was cited as the biggest advantage with almost two thirds (64pc) of respondents selecting it. More than half (59pc) cited no queues as a main benefit.

Access to shops and products from home and online being the only option to get the desired products were also among the top benefits, each being cited by 39pc of people. Meanwhile, 21pc of respondents said payment security was a main advantage.

Moreover, the survey found that a 59pc of Irish consumers purchased something from abroad since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Understandably, there has been a huge shift toward online purchasing in recent months, and our research shows that this will be a permanent change for a lot of people in Ireland,” said Maeve Dorman, vice-president of Merchant Operations at PayPal EMEA.

“Digital has become the new normal for buying both goods and, increasingly, services – as well as many consumers buying online for the first time, there are those who have completely changed their behaviours when it comes to purchasing as a result of the pandemic.

“Covid-19 has clearly accelerated the evolution of commerce in Ireland, with people turning to online shopping and digital payments rather than the traditional cash and in-store experience. As a result of this growing preference for the convenience associated with online purchasing, many are also buying from international sellers.

The need for Irish businesses to embrace e-commerce

Separate to the PayPal study it is estimated that 70pc of all online shopping in Ireland goes overseas. As Ireland slips into a six-week level 5 lockdown and as Christmas fast approaches, consumers are being called upon to buy Irish this season to support SMEs.

“Irish businesses need to step up and ensure that they are able to deliver an online offering equipped with a simple checkout process and secure payment options, otherwise they will fail to capitalise on the opportunity during what is already an extremely challenging time.”

“Having a digital platform is more important than ever in order to meet the growing domestic need for online access to products and services, and future-proof businesses by attracting building trust among existing and new customers. It also opens up a huge global opportunity for Irish businesses to grow at this time.”

Pictured at top: Maeve Dorman, vice-president of Merchant Operations at PayPal EMEA

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

Published: 20 October, 2020