The Irish are world leaders for international online shopping – new research from PayPal indicates.
According to the survey, eighty six per cent of Irish internet shoppers - an estimated 1.9 million people - have made overseas purchases in the last 12 months. 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 sixteen per cent 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. Seventy eight percent of cross-border shoppers said they shop in other countries to get can get better-priced goods, while seventy three per cent 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. Out of consumers in 29 markets surveyed, Irish-based online consumers are the most likely to shop on UK sites after UK customers themselves.
With a total estimated spend in the UK in 2015 of €931 million, almost three quarters (74%) of online shoppers made a purchase on a UK site in the past 12 months, compared to an international average of fourteen per cent. A further thirty eight per cent bought an item from the United States in the last year, while twenty six per cent said they purchased a product from a Chinese website.
Despite the high incidence of international online spending, other countries’ eyes are also on Ireland. 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.
India and Germany are the next most likely to purchase Irish products, with an estimated 500,000 from each country making online purchases here in the last 12 months. A further estimated 400,000 French people turned to Irish sites to make purchases in the last year.
Louise Phelan, Vice President of Global Operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa, PayPal, comments on the findings: “Our research shows that 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.
"Irish consumers are savvy online shoppers - they know where to find the best choice at the right price, and they’re not afraid to look abroad to get it. We need to encourage more Irish businesses to get online, offer more choice, and start bringing some of that €1.8 billion home to the Irish economy.
"There’s also a whole world of new online export opportunities for Irish businesses, retailers and budding entrepreneurs who are willing to grasp them," she added.
“Mobile is playing an increasingly vital role in commerce and that is reflected in our findings. Growth in mobile transactions is currently running at a staggering sixty five per cent and Irish businesses need to take advantage of this enormous opportunity.
"By offering responsive and mobile-friendly payment platforms, retailers will be tapping into a growing and lucrative market that will be crucial to their future success.”