Irish are world leaders for international online shopping, new research shows

Louise Phelan, vice president of Global Operations in Europe Middle East and Africa, PayPal

PayPal research shows Irish shoppers are frequently looking overseas when shopping online, while mobile shopping is set to double by 2017

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30 November 2015 | 0

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AT A GLANCE: ONLINE SHOPPING IN IRELAND

  • 86% of Irish online shoppers (an estimated 1.9 million people) made an international purchase in the last 12 months
    Irish online shoppers will spend an estimated €1.8 billion on products from international websites in 2015; forecast to grow to more than €2 billion in 2016
    74% of Irish online shoppers made a purchase on a UK website, 38% on a US site and 26% on a Chinese one in past 12 months
    Shopping on a mobile device is predicted to grow by 65% from 2014 to €1.4 billion this year in Ireland
    40% of Irish online shoppers have used a smartphone to make online purchases in past 12 months

Irish consumers are the most active international online shoppers out of 29 countries surveyed, new research from PayPal reveals. In fact, 86% of Irish internet shoppers (an estimated 1.9 million people) have made overseas purchases in the last 12 months.

The global study, fittingly released to coincide with Cyber Monday, was conducted by Ipsos and looked at online cross-border shopping – referring to any purchase made on a website from outside Ireland – and included a representative sample of 810 Irish adults. The research  found the average cross-border shopper spent €964 on international online purchases in the last year. In total, Irish online shoppers will spend an estimated €1.8 billion on products from international websites in 2015 – with an expected growth of 16% to more than €2 billion in 2016.

Reasons given by online shoppers for their purchases abroad hint at a lack of access to goods online in Ireland, along with unfavourable prices. 78% of cross-border shoppers said they shop in other countries to get better-priced goods, while 73% said that they shop abroad to purchase items that are not available on Irish sites. Much of Ireland’s international online spending is done on UK websites.

Despite the high incidence of international online spending, other countries’ eyes are also on Ireland though. The UK is Ireland’s biggest export market for online goods, with an estimated 1.3 million British people shopping on Irish websites in the past year, with India and Germany the next most likely to purchase Irish products.

The biggest concerns amongst online shoppers when shopping abroad include delivery shipping costs (56% of online shoppers say that this prevents them from making purchases from websites in other countries), the risk of paying extra customs duties or taxes (45%) and concerns about identity theft or fraud (39%). Some 45% of online shoppers said free return shipping would make them more likely to buy from a website in another country.

Ireland becoming mobile payments market

The research from PayPal also estimates that mobile shopping will have grown by 65% in Ireland this year to €1.4 billion. Growth will continue to be rapid with mobile shopping set to almost double to €2.7 billion by 2017. Furthermore, 40% of Ireland’s online shoppers have used a smartphone to make an online purchase in the past 12 months.

The total online spend—including mobile—by Irish shoppers is estimated to have grown by 23% between 2014 and 2015 to €4.3 billion. This is expected to grow again by 18% to more than €5 billion in 2016.

Louise Phelan, vice president of Global Operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa, PayPal said the research shows “now is the time for Irish businesses and retailers to really push their e-commerce offerings and bring revenue lost to international online sales back home”.

 

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