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49% of Irish do most online shopping with local SMEs

49% of Irish do most online shopping with local SMEs

One in two consumers in Ireland say they do the majority of their online shopping with small and medium-sized enterprises from Ireland. But a slightly bigger share of people, 51 percent, place most of their online orders at international retailers.

This is shown by the 2021 .IE Tipping Point report. But last year, in a report that was published last summer, 53 percent of Irish consumers did most of their ecommerce shopping with SMEs since the start of the pandemic. The latest report thus shows that this figure has now swung back to international retailers.

SMEs can’t expect that goodwill to last forever.

“Irish consumers want to support local businesses through a difficult period, but SMEs can’t expect that goodwill to last forever. A stable, long-term ecommerce strategy cannot be built on crisis solidarity alone”, David Curtin, CEO of .IE says [pdf].

78% are as busy or busier than before

Still, nearly four out of five Irish SMEs say they are as busy or even busier than before the pandemic, because of their investment in online services. This is up from 46 percent in 2020. Now over half (55 percent, up from 21 percent) claim to have spent money on improving their digital platforms. Most of these companies are either launching or improving their website.

“A growing number of Irish SMEs recognize that having an online presence is absolutely crucial to their business’s survival. Compared to last year, more businesses anticipate that consumers will spend online as well as offline, and that fewer will do most of their shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores. This knowledge of consumer trends is positive news for these businesses and for the Irish economy overall”, Curtin adds.

68% spent more online than in 2019

The report shows that two-thirds of consumers in Ireland spent more online in 2020 than they did in 2019. And almost six out of ten say they will prioritize online shopping over in-store shopping this year. The remaining 42 percent say they will do most of their shopping in physical stores this year, down from 48 percent last year.

Among consumers who prefer offline shopping, 61 percent say it’s because it is more convenient, while 39 percent say it’s because it gives them a chance for social interaction and to go outside. Last year, 55 percent said this.

39 percent prefer offline shopping, because it gives them a chance to go outside.

And for Irish shoppers who prefer to do most of their shopping online, social interaction has the exact opposite effect: 66 percent say ecommerce is safer and means less social interaction. And 52 percent say it’s just more convenient, while 46 percent say it saves them time.

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