Covid-19 pushes more people to buy goods, services online

But 59% of people are shopping with retailers overseas, survey shows

The coronavirus pandemic is pushing more people to shop online for both goods and services, a new survey has found, with a quarter of Irish consumers shopping online for the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak.

The survey, which was commissioned by payments company PayPal, found 76 per cent of consumers bought products online during the period, and a third of people said they would buy more online in the future compared to pre-Covid times. More than half said they can buy everything online without any issues.

The study was conducted by Ipsos and questioned 2,000 consumers in Ireland.


Consumers turned to online shopping to avoid queues and to take advantage of home delivery, the survey said.


Among the top online services purchased online were call and video call services, video on-demand subscriptions and music subscriptions. Consumers opted for clothing, shoes and accessories when buying goods online.

"Understandably, there has been a huge shift toward online purchasing in recent months, and our research shows that this will be a permanent change for a lot of people in Ireland. Digital has become the new normal for buying both goods and, increasingly, services - as well as many consumers buying online for the first time, there are those who have completely changed their behaviours when it comes to purchasing as a result of the pandemic," said Maeve Dorman, vice president of merchant operations for PayPal EMEA.

“Irish businesses need to step up and ensure that they are able to deliver an online offering equipped with a simple checkout process and secure payment options, otherwise they will fail to capitalise on the opportunity during what is already an extremely challenging time.”


“Having a digital platform is more important than ever in order to meet the growing domestic need for online access to products and services, and future-proof businesses by attracting building trust among existing and new customers. It also opens up a huge global opportunity for Irish businesses to grow at this time.”

However, almost 60 per cent of people said they bought from international sellers during lockdown, which may be a blow to local retailers who have been forced to close physical stores in the run up to Christmas.

Retail groups had warned the closure of “non-essential” shops for the next six weeks would create pent-up demand and result in a “frenzied” shopping experience in December.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist