Irish shoppers spent almost €3 billion on internet shopping last year, as they turned online to hunt down bargains. A total of €2.96 billion was spent at ecommerce sites, according to estimates from Visa Europe.
That’s an increase of 39 per cent compared to 2009, the research found. According to the study, the average shopper spent €1,550 online last year, higher than €1,450 recorded in the previous year, but still below the average of €1,700 spent in 2008.
Men splurge more online than their female counterparts, spending an average of €1,650 to women’s €1,470.
Most of the money was spent on flights and holidays, but more people are turning to the internet to buy clothing and footwear, and items that cannot be easily found in Irish stores.
The rise in online shopping is being fuelled partly by increasing confidence on the part of the consumer, with the majority aware of what they should be looking out for on sites in terms of security features
Shoppers are also on the hunt for good value, with about half of the respondents reporting savings of between 11 and 30 per cent. Convenience is also a major attraction, the survey found.
Some 65 per cent of respondents said they are aware of their consumer rights online.
The survey was carried out for Visa Europe by market research company iReach in April, and included 1,000 adults living in Ireland.
“We are seeing a large growth in the popularity of online shopping for a variety of reasons. Consumers typically shop online because it’s convenient but increasingly we’ve seen budget conscious shoppers turn to the internet in the hunt for value,” said Visa Europe’s Irish vice president Conor Langford.
“The growth in e-commerce activity also reflects the fact the Irish consumers are increasingly confident in using their debit or credit card online.”
The importance to Irish businesses to getting online has been emphasised in recent weeks. An initiative to get 25,000 new Irish businesses online within a year was unveiled earlier this month, with Google, Blacknight Internet Solutions, An Post and the county and city enterprise boards teaming up to encourage new companies to get an online presence.