As a result of the recession, consumer behaviours have changes and have led to a more value-conscious consumer. This means that retailers will need work even harder to attract consumers. A survey carried out by PWC reveals that even though the economy has continued to pick up less than a third of consumers surveyed said that they expect to spend more in 2018 than 2017.
Figures show consumers in Ireland spent around €5bn online in 2017, however almost two thirds of that went to countries outside of Ireland (Approx. €3bn). There is clearly a huge opportunity for Irish retailers to attract this revenue by ensuring they have the necessary platforms.
There has been a dramatic shift from desktop to mobile in recent years, with mobile set to become the most dominant platform for online shopping. If we look at countries such as the US and UK, we can see that the rate of mobile adoption is much higher, it is safe to assume that Ireland will follow. This means that for retailers who are selling online, mobile friendly websites are now a necessity. The survey carried out by PWC found that 25% of Irish consumers shop online at least once a week and 95% shop online at least once a year, with the 25-34-year olds being most active. According to this survey, at least once a month, 29% of consumers purchase via mobile. This is expected to grow approx. 50% within 5 years, based on UK growth. It is clear that having a website which can be easily accessible via mobile is becoming a necessity.
The adoption of mobile payments is becoming more and more important. Retailers who are prepared for mobile payments will benefit hugely in relation to increased traffic and spending. The use of mobile payments is expected to increase in 2018. 66% of those surveyed, under the age of 35, stated that they prefer using mobile payment when purchasing in store.
In Ireland there has been an increasing shift to online in categories such as Books, Clothing and Footwear, Music etc. However, categories such as furniture, DIY and household appliances are not bought online very frequently with 60% of those surveyed never buying online in these categories. Grocery is another category which has a small online presence. Only 3% of total grocery purchases in Ireland are made online compared with 7.5% in the UK. There is clearly a huge opportunity for Irish Grocers to improve their online services.
It is clear there are a number of opportunities for Irish retailers. By improving their online efforts, they can attract more consumers and shift the online spend back to Irish retailers. To do this, websites must be improved and it is crucial that there is a mobile friendly version.