68% of Irish consumers reported spending more online in 2020, compared to 2019. Looking ahead, 58% prioritizes online shopping over in-store shopping in 2021, compared to 52% last year. However, 42% of consumers said they will do most of their shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores this year.
Among consumers who say they will do most of their shopping in physical stores in 2021, 61% says it is more convenient. In addition, 39% said they will shop mostly in physical stores. This is because it is a chance for social interaction and to go outside, presumably as cases have increased since Christmas.
The consumers who said they would do most of their shopping online, social interaction had the exact opposite effect. 66% said shopping online is safer and means less social interaction. Furthermore, 52% say it is more convenient and 46% say it saves them time.
The 2020 .IE Tipping Point report showed that 53% of consumers reported doing the majority of their online shopping with Irish SMEs since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. This compares to 47% from international retailers. The 2021 report shows that this figure has now swung back to international retailers. With 49% now saying they have done the majority of their shopping with Irish SMEs since the start of the pandemic and 51% with international retailers.
“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 e-commerce strategy cannot be built on crisis solidarity alone,” says David Curtin, CEO of .IE
Still, nearly four out of five Irish SMEs say they are busier than before COVID-19. This is due to their investment in online services, which is up from 46% in 2020. Now over half (55%) claim to have spent money on improving their digital platforms. Most of these companies are either launching or improving their website.
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