The increasing threat to Ireland’s high street is highlighted in a new survey, commissioned by Lero, the SFI Irish Software Research Centre, which finds that two-thirds of Irish adults have purchased clothes or footwear online within the past 12 months. The figure rises to 73% for females (58% males).

The survey of 1,038 adults was conducted for Lero by RED C Research in June 2018.

“While the purchase of travel and books online has been well known for some time, we were rather surprised at the high levels of online shopping by Irish consumers of more individual and size critical items such as clothing and footwear,” commented Professor Brian Fitzgerald, director of Lero, the SFI Irish Software Research Centre. “This clearly emphasises the increased threat to the traditional high street.”

Irish consumers do not seem to be put off by the risk of ill-fitting purchases and the survey finds that almost one in three (31%) have returned or exchanged goods in the last 12 months. The figure rises to 38% amongst females.

The EU is well aware of the threat to jobs and Lero researchers at DCU are leading a €3.8 million programme designed to enable European high street and online retailers counter the competitive dangers posed by foreign global players such as Amazon and eBay.

The Lero study finds that many Irish consumers don’t only favour shopping from home but a majority (59%) favour electronic voting from home for elections and referendums.

“It would appear that the intelligent Irish voter is well able to differentiate between the debacle of electronic voting machines scrapped after the 2002 elections and the potential to use modern technology to vote from home,” commented Professor Fitzgerald.

The survey also finds large support for a national identity card with three quarters (75%) in favour. Support rises to 86% amongst those aged 65 or over and 84% by retired people.

81% of the population support a personal electronic health record that could be accessed by your GP and hospitals.

These results contrast with 84% of the population who express concern about online privacy. 87% express concern about online security.

“Despite valid high levels of concern over online security and privacy, the majority of Irish consumers are not put off an increasingly online lifestyle,” commented Professor Fitzgerald.

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