23 Sep 2016 | 08.45 am
Digital Insights Report From Virgin Media
Virgin’s survey finds Irish uneasy at some aspects of digital life
23 Sep 2016 | 08.45 am
A major research report from Virgin Media shows that just 41% of online spending by Irish consumers goes to Irish suppliers, with 59% spent offshore, amounting to €4.4 billion.
With 94% of internet users shopping online, the Digital Insights Report forecasts a near doubling in online consumer spending in Ireland to more than €14 billion annually between now and 2021, with significant opportunities for Irish SMEs in the process, and online spending increasing by an order of magnitude faster than overall consumer spending.
While the numbers giving convenience as their reason to shop online have declined from 55% to 48% since 2014, more people are taking to e-commerce and the major reasons given remain that the product isn’t locally available, up from 41% to 53%, and finding a lower price online, up from 59% to 72%.
CEO Tony Hanway said: “This is our third Digital Insights Report since 2012 and it shows how rapidly the Irish digital landscape is changing.
“The report found that Irish people place a very high value on digital technologies, with a significant consumer surplus built into the compensation they would require if their broadband service was not available tomorrow. This is testament to the major extent that digital technologies have become central to daily life in Ireland.
“Ever-increasing numbers of Irish consumers are shopping and using services online. This is seen in the increase in spending over the last two years and the projected forecast for online consumer spending to grow from €7.5 billion to €14.1 billion in 2021.
“Irish websites account for just 41% (some €3.1 billion) of Irish online purchases, with a further €4.4 billion euro being spent offshore. If that trend continues to 2021, over €8 billion euro in goods and services will be bought offshore at that time. This represents a significant potential loss of trade to the Irish economy and Irish businesses.”
Apart from the commercial aspect of internet use the report, compiled by research company Amárach, also looked at the psychological, social, and emotional impacts of increasingly pervasive digital technologies and yields important conclusions for society and industry.
To sum up, there were positive results in relation to the impacts of digital technologies, such as the internet and smartphones, on areas of our lives including work and study, but decidedly more mixed outcomes when it comes to personal relationships.
Among the key findings were:
- Some 53% of respondents felt that digital technologies helped them with their work while 71% said they helped with studying and learning new skills
- 39% of respondents believed that digital technologies helped relationships with current or previous partners; 30% found them a hindrance
- Just 24% said they helped with intimacy while 37% said they hampered it
- 32% said that technologies were an obstacle to relationships with their children and 33% saw them as an aid
- 49% of respondents were worried about the impact of digital technology on their privacy
- Overall, 65% of respondents said they felt more connected to family through digital communications
Hanway’s conclusion was that “while people are comfortable and knowledgeable with digital technologies, a clear value proposition needs to be offered before they will adopt them”.
He added: “There will be opportunities for businesses to invent and launch new products and even to create new markets. Meeting that challenge will demand a deep understanding of the needs and circumstances of Irish consumers, especially their emotional drivers and expectations.
“Businesses must start with the customer and the emotional and the relational impact they want them to experience when they use a new product or service. The ability to develop a more customer centric approach will decide the winners during the next wave of the digital economy.”