Irish shops face more pressure as consumers extend their online buying beyond holidays and books, a survey by a leading group of academics has found.
Lero, which is backed by most universities and funded by the Government’s Science Foundation Ireland, said Ireland’s high street faces an “increasing threat” after it found two-thirds of adults had bought clothing and footwear online in the past year.
The researchers are involved in a €3.8m research programme which is designed to help European brick-and-mortar, as well as online stores, to fight back against giants such as Amazon and eBay.
“While the purchase of travel and books online has been well known for some time, we were rather surprised at the high levels of online shopping by Irish consumers of more individual and size critical items such as clothing and footwear,” said Professor Brian Fitzgerald at Lero.
Clothing and airline and sports and concert tickets are still the most likely items to be bought online, but electronics, sportswear, and beauty products are increasingly popular online purchases.
The survey by Red C showed 23% of adults had bought groceries online in the past year, while just under a third of Irish adults returned or exchanged goods bought online.
Women and full-time students led the groups who were the most likely to buy clothing and footwear online, but the unemployed and people living in rural areas featured among those who hadn’t bought any product online in the past year.
More women than men buy clothing online, while more men than women buy electronics goods online, according to the research.