Two-thirds of Irish consumers consider businesses that don't have a website to be 'outdated'.
New findings by IE Domain Registry, the company that manages Ireland's .ie website domains, spell bad news for bricks and mortar shops as more people look online for everyday products and services.
The SME Digital Health Index has been issued just two weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping days of the year. It shows that almost six-out-of-ten customers consider online purchases to be 'important' to them, and more than half say they expect their local high street shops to provide a full online shopping service, such as direct-to-door delivery.
Despite this, though, less than one-third of Irish SMEs can actually take orders or process sales through their website and 31% of SMEs don't even have a website.
More than half (53%) of Irish consumers believe that online shopping will, at some point, supersede traditional shopping, and nearly half (48%) of Irish consumers only visit brick-and-mortar shops for everyday necessities, like groceries and toiletries, meaning they are purchasing other items like clothing and electronics exclusively via online retailers.
The SME Digital Health Index shows the disconnect between consumer expectations and Irish SMEs, according to David Curtin, CEO of IE Domain Registry.
"Irish consumers expect their local SMEs to provide the same experience as multinational retailers like Amazon. They want to see what their local shop has to offer, buy their product online, and have it delivered straight to their door," he said.
"Despite this, however, most Irish SMEs continue to use their websites like static ‘digital business cards’, with little more than a home page and contact information."
"By remaining digitally under-developed, SMEs will continue to lose their share of Ireland’s €12.3 billion e-commerce market to international online competitors."