The Irish digital landscape has never looked so promising. Increased employment, improved broadband and browsing experiences, plus greater trust, drove a 45% surge in revenues to e-commerce websites in Ireland for a third year in a row. That’s more than 6 times the wider economy’s 7.3% growth reported today.

An annual study by digital marketing agency, Wolfgang Digital, found e-commerce transactions rising by 32% and traffic up 14%, making Ireland’s online economy worth an estimated €12.3 billion or 6% of GDP in 2017.

Not only are people browsing and buying more frequently they are parting with more cash. Today the average retail shopper will spend €147 in one transaction online.

Data from a range of travel and retail websites, generating a total €240 million in online revenue, was analysed for Wolfgang Digital’s Online Economy report to reveal a number of other interesting findings:

–       Desktop remains the number one buying device at 58% but is slowly losing ground to smartphones, which accounted for 30% of revenues, up from 26% in 2016

–       Smartphones dominated when it came to traffic accounting for 51% of visits to e-commerce websites versus 38% for desktop and 11% for tablet

–       Travel continues to boom with revenues for this vertical up an impressive 114% year-on-year, after a 65% increase in transactions

–       Retailers saw their online revenues climb 19% as traffic rose 14%

–       Black Friday sales experienced a 56% uplift compared to 2016, with 7% of Q4 revenues generated on this one day alone

–       Despite traffic to e-commerce websites growing 16% in Q4, dubbed the ‘Golden Quarter’, revenues only increased 11%

–       24% of Irish retailers’ revenues came from international visitors

Speaking about the results Alan Coleman, CEO of Wolfgang Digital, said: “The relentless growth of the online economy continues unabated. With 6% of the Irish economy now taking place online we sit ahead of the European average of 5%. However. the chasm between us and the UK’s 12% indicates there is still plenty of room to grow.”

On what lies ahead and how e-commerce operators can take advantage Coleman says: “The growth to date has been driven by digital media duopoly Google and Facebook and this seems set to continue. However, in 2018 there are alternatives for savvy marketers. Pinterest has recently launched an ad offering, which can beat Facebook on engagement and cost. The retail industry is also anxiously awaiting Amazon’s next move and the Seattle-based giant, who now enjoys more product searches than Google, is said to be secretly beefing up its advertising platform. Just as there is a ‘Buy now with one click’ button on Amazon for shoppers,  an ‘Import your Google AdWords campaign with one click’ button for advertisers would see massive chunks of ad spend migrate to Amazon in an instant.”

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