Ireland flag Ireland: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Ireland


Internet access
Ireland has a population of 4.7 million, with an internet penetration rate at 81%. According to a research by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Deloitte, 90% of the Irish population has access to a smartphone, a rate higher than the European average. When dividing the Irish internet users into age groups, 92% of 16-24 year-olds, 91% of 25-34 year-olds and 89% of 35-44 year-olds log on daily. The older generations connect frequently: the 45-54-group and those over 55s have an 84% and 77% daily penetration rate, respectively. The most popular web search engines in Ireland are Google (95.2%), Bing (2.5%) and Yahoo (1.7%).
E-commerce market
The Irish e-commerce market saw a third consecutive year of revenue growth in 2017, with total online revenue of e-shops, which increased by 45% year-on-year, reaching around USD 4 billion. Increased employment, improved broadband and browsing experiences have led to a 14% year-on-year traffic increase for Irish e-commerce websites, while the number of transactions increased by 32% during the same period (Wolfang Digital). Most purchases were made from desktops and laptops (58%), whereas mobile was on the rise and accounted for 30% of the overall share. The remaining 12% was generated by tablet users. When it came to traffic, smartphones accounted for 51% of visits to e-commerce websites, compared to 38% for desktop and 11% for tablets.
In 2017, international e-commerce transactions accounted for 24% of all revenue generated by Irish retailers. Among the most popular online specialised stores in Ireland are Amazon, ASOS, Tesco,, Boohoo, eBay, AliExpress, Ticketmaster and Groupon.
E-commerce sales and customers
It is estimated that there are currently 2.9 million e-commerce users in Ireland, with an additional 460,000 users expected to be shopping online by 2022. Fashion is the leading product category, followed by toys, hobby and DIY. In 2017 businesses and services in the travel industry recorded an impressive 114% year-on-year revenue growth. Data from Eurostat shows that 44% of Irish aged 16 to 74 made online purchases in the last three months (the EU28 average is 48%). The retail average transaction value increased by 1% in 2017, reaching EUR 147 per transaction (Wolfgang Digital). Irish consumers go online mainly to seek offers and discounts and to enjoy a wider selection of products. The majority of consumers in Ireland also turn to the United Kingdom for online shopping, mainly due to a greater product variety, but also lower prices. However, those price savings are mitigated by the cost of delivery, which is the main drawback of shopping from foreign e-commerce websites. According to Statista, the vast majority (65%) of Irish e-shoppers prefer to pay with credit card, while only 20% recur to online payment platforms such as PayPal.
Social media
A research study by PwC confirms social media to be the most influential tool for driving purchases of Irish consumers, especially for younger age groups. Facebook continues to be the dominant social network in Ireland, with 64% of the Irish population using it. Of these, 74% log on daily. Overall, Facebook is still the biggest social network used in Ireland, with 2.9 million people logged on monthly, and 2.1 million daily. Around 1.3 million Facebook users are 34 and under, 630,000 are 24 and under, 340,000 are 20 and under, 200,000 are 18 and under, and 1.4 million are 35 and above.
Daily users of Snapchat in Ireland stand at more than 1.75 million daily, out of which 1.4 million are under 35 and, of these, 975,000 are under 24 (Cork Chamber Business School). Snapchat is the messaging platform most used on a daily basis. WhatsApp is the next most commonly used messaging platform by its members on a daily basis, with 63% of its users sending messages every day. In Ireland, around 1.4 million people are on Instagram monthly and 800,000 daily. Among these, about 980,000 are 34 and under, 520,000 are 24 and under, 290,000 are 20 and under, 170,000 are 18 and under, and 460,000 are 35 and above.

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Latest Update: April 2023

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