Despite the current economic downturn, recent studies indicate a positive outlook for online sales activity in Ireland as more consumers and businesses are going online to buy and sell products and services.
In recent weeks Irish online payments processors Realex announced a 38% increase in the number of businesses signing up for their services in the month of June compared to previous months. According to Realex these businesses represented a broad spectrum, selling items as varied as jewellery, IT products, alarm systems, party supplies etc.
As for consumer activity the most recent figures from the CSO indicate that over 1.1 million Irish consumers made online purchases in the 12 months to March 2008. Typically strong in activities such as travel booking, concert tickets and books, there has been significant growth in Irish online purchases of electronic items, clothing and household goods.
This growth in online consumer activity is not unique to Ireland. An Internet Retailing report states that online purchasing in the UK is up 38% for the first 6 months of 2009 compared to the same period the previous year. According to the report sales of clothing and footwear sales in physical stores were either static or falling in June, while online clothing sales were up 32%, lingerie sales rose by 37% and footwear 38%.
Internet Retailing also state that 17% of retail sales in the UK are now occurring online. They expect this figure to rise to between 30% and 50% in the next five years.
Indeed Paypal have published a report forecasting that UK consumers will more than double their online spending by the end of 2011 – a total of £21.3 billion!