UPC recently undertook some research into Ireland’s internet usage and trends with some extremely interesting results. Ireland is not often singled out when it comes to internet research so this data finally gives us some figures specific to the Republic of Ireland (ROI). It now gives us the opportunity to compare ourselves to other EU states instead of being subsumed into overall EU figures. Below is an overview of the main points.
- 1 in 4 Irish companies have no online presence at all – 47,000 small & medium enterprises.
- Current online consumer spending is €6 billion per year with a projected €13 billion by 2020
- 75% of companies supply smart phones & laptops to over a third of their staff
- A quarter of all business's surveyed think they could have a 5% growth on top of current projections with the right online strategy.
- 53% of business's in Ireland indicated that they are influenced by online feedback which compares to just 29% in Germany.
What is most striking from a business point of view is the high number (25%) of companies who do not have any online presence at all. The vast majority of these companies are SME/sole traders but even so it shows that many companies fail to recognise the potential of the internet as a means of sourcing business. Online spending is set to double in the next 5 years and this presents a massive opportunity for businesses to grow.
Aside from direct online sales, a website is a shop window for a company and the figures above do not account for the products/services which are sourced online but not transacted there.
Online Usage Stats:
- Broadband usage in Ireland matches the EU average with two-thirds of homes registering a broadband connection.
- 80% of adults claim to use the internet, up from under 50% in 2007.
- 30% of Irish adults are subscribed to a broadband package of 30mbps or higher which is well ahead of the EU-28 average of 18.2%. The Irish figure has grown from 10% in 2012.
- Users are online an average of 2.6 hours on a weekday, a figure that is increased at the weekends.
- The most popular online activities are shopping and use of social media networks.
- 2.6 million people in Ireland describe themselves as online shoppers. 20% of this figure represent the 15-24 year old demographic. The average spend for an Irish online shopper is €116 per month (15-24s €61, Over 55s €168).
- 60% of current online spending by Irish users is going abroad
- Over 60% of shoppers would prefer to buy from an Irish site provided it offered the same as international alternatives.
The figures dispel many of the myths that have been circulated in the past few years about internet usage. It is no longer a case that online shopping is an activity of the 18-30 year old demographic. Although purchases by over 55's are less frequent, the amount they transact is much higher.
60% of ROI sales are going abroad yet the same number of people indicated that they would prefer to buy from an Irish site if they were offered an equal alternative.