It’s almost thirty years since Jeff Bezos founded Amazon and began selling books online. Today, it has over 353 million products available and ships approximately 1.6 million packages daily, or 18.5 orders per second. These numbers and the sheer size and profitability of Amazon cement the absolute demand and popularity for shopping online. However, despite the success of eCommerce, many retailers here in Ireland have historically been somewhat slower about expanding online. The reasons for this reluctance vary, and it is not just about size. Penny’s, probably one of the best-known brands and one of the largest retailers, has so far resisted the trend, although earlier this year it launched its first Click & Collect services to select UK stores.
How a pandemic hastened the move online
While COVID is responsible for many changes to our way of life, one area it has forever transformed is retail. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and social distancing requirements left many retailers with no option but to transition online. And shoppers responded accordingly. Many of them have opted to continue despite the lifting of restrictions and the reopening of brick and mortars. Since the pandemic, 65% of people in Ireland have increased their online shopping, 89% of whom plan to continue this increase post-pandemic.
The opportunity this presents for brands is remarkable and, for some, will determine just how successful they are in a world facing economic, political and social uncertainty. In recent weeks we’ve heard about massive job losses, and there may be more as the full impact of the war in Ukraine and the rising costs of living continue to threaten the viability of many businesses. This means that retailers must invest time and effort and optimise every opportunity to win customers and build loyalty- both on and offline.
To understand what consumers here in Ireland expect or want from online shopping, we surveyed 1,000 people across Ireland. We asked them 30 questions covering everything from their online shopping frequency, how they find out about new products or services, to how they feel about the environmental impact of shipping. As we reviewed their responses, some of which surprised us, we began to see a picture emerging of a shopper with very clear preferences. It would also appear that although online shopping may not be seen as community-based as shopping in person, there is a very communal aspect with people reading and looking to review and other customer feedback when considering a purchase. There is also a huge swing towards shopping on social media sites. There is a reason #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 6 billion views. Ultimately though, regardless of where people buy from, the main request is for convenience and transparency when shopping online.
As we worked through the responses, we identified the 3 trends that we think are having the greatest impact on eCommerce in Ireland.
Online shopping continues to grow in popularity post-pandemic
#1 Frictionless shopping experience
Shoppers want a straightforward online shopping experience.
#2 Brand reputation
Brand reputation matters as shoppers seek a personal connection as part of the shopping experience.
#3 Social disruption
With the evolution of social commerce, the online marketplace is growing beyond Google and traditional search platforms.
In the All human Digital Pulse 2022: The current state of online shopping habits and behaviours in Ireland, we examine these trends in greater detail. The report also offers brands an in-depth look at the data we collated, and offers guidance and real-world examples of what brands can do to improve the online shopping experience.
Maria O'Neill6 mins
Candela Fonte6 mins
John Mitchell6 mins