Understanding the Irish online: the E-Commerce Marketer's secret weapon
Irish online habits have changed a lot in a very short amount of time. In some respects the Irish demographic is very representative of typical EU online behaviour but in others it is quite distinct. This particular profile of Irish internet users should give companies and marketers some clear ideas of the approaches to take when selling in the Irish market online.
One of the most significant statistics in regards to the internet in Ireland is the penetration of broadband services across the country. According to Eurostat, 81% of Irish homes had broadband access in 2014. That is well above the EU average and means that more than 3 million people in Ireland are online.
Irish Internet users also spend more time on the internet than the EU average. An average of 13.5 hours are spent online per week in Ireland. Of course that breaks down unevenly across age groups with under twenties spending almost twice the average online and over 35’s spending less than half that amount of time surfing the web.
Taking the old with the new - Irish consumption of media and the internet
A recent surge in evening bandwidth usage across Ireland has been attributed to the growth of streaming services, in particular Netflix, which is thought to have as many as 200,000 subscribers in the country. Other streaming services such as RTE Player have also contributed to this growth.
This movement of consuming traditional media via the internet is supported by figures from Mediascope research that shows increasing figures for Ireland.
According to Mediascope, 81% of internet users watch TV online, above the EU average of 73%. 66% listen to the radio online and 89% read newspapers online which are both on par with the EU average. Targeted ad spots on streamed services should offer high potential in reaching Irish media consumers.
The Mediascope research also highlights large numbers accessing the internet from mobile and tablet platforms, both of which they say are 50% higher than the EU average. Mobile internet use is at 31% of the population and 12% use tablets to go online. Responsive website design is clearly a vital element in taking advantage of the Irish market.
E-Commerce appetite in Ireland
Eurostat’s 2014 figures show that 43% of Irish internet users had made an online purchase in the previous quarter. Mediascope’s figures give an overall number for those shopping online in Ireland at 97% compared to an EU wide average of 87%.
An important figure from the Mediascope report is the number of Irish shoppers who research online and purchase offline (ROPO). 88% of internet users in Ireland research products online before buying in a local store.
The research also discovered that Irish consumers had spent an average of €685 per person in the previous 6 months. Most Irish internet users considered the internet to be an important factor when deciding on purchases from a range of markets, especially travel, holidays, mobile, financial products and insurance.
Overall the figures demonstrate that Irish internet users are eager to take advantage of high broadband availability and are not averse to adopting new technologies. They also show that Irish consumers are aware of the potential the internet offers in terms of getting value for money and finding not just the best price but also the best quality.
Important online factors to consider when marketing to the Irish
When marketing your products to an Irish audience there a number of factors to consider, many of which may be applicable in your own country:
- Secure payment facilities
- A variety of payment options – Visa Debit, Master Card, PayPal
- Trust signals – credit card logos, verified supplier
- Prices in Euro
- Fast load website load times
- Positive website user experience
- Well written and descriptive product descriptions
- Mobile and responsive website design
- Crystal clear product photography
- Friendly customer service
- Easy to locate terms and conditions
- Clear refunds and returns information
- Reasonable delivery times to Ireland
- Contact details – address, phone number and email
- Real product reviews
- Social media reviews – Facebook, Twitter, Google+ local, Yelp
The Irish online market offers E-commerce retailers an engaged and savvy audience that are spending increasing amounts of time and money on the internet. The opportunities are there and 2015 will only see the Irish market grow further.
Image/Copyright: Patrick Naughton