Irish online consumers now buy more from abroad than from domestic retailers
Irish retailers are losing out because more consumers here purchase online from suppliers abroad than at home.
According to new research from PayPal, 2.1 million of us bought goods online from an Irish retailer last year, compared with 2.2 million people buying from a foreign website.
The results of the Global Cross Border Commerce Report show Irish online customers are more likely to buy from abroad than in any of the other 29 countries and markets surveyed.
In all, 84pc of us chose to shop on overseas sites, spending €2.7bn in the last 12 months alone. Three import markets - the UK, the US and China - are most popular with Irish online shoppers, as delivery fees (34pc) and return shipping costs (21pc) deterred them from homegrown online stores.
PayPal's Louise Phelan said that the research also shows Irish businesses that there's still so much to play for. Total online spend is growing at around 20pc year-on-year in Ireland, according to the report.
"In just two years' time, ecommerce is going to be worth over €10bn in Ireland. Irish businesses have a tremendous opportunity in front of them to attract more customers and increase their online sales," said Ms Phelan.
Almost two-thirds (65pc) of those surveyed for the report shopped using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, in the last year, estimating a growth of 61pc of mobile spending in Ireland in 2018 to €2.8bn.
"It's all about putting yourself in your customer's shoes and understanding how to turn a browser into a buyer," said Ms Phelan.
"For example, the number of Irish consumers making a purchase on their mobile is growing at such a phenomenal rate that having a mobile-friendly website is no longer optional - it is absolutely vital for the future of any business."