Shift to online shopping will have a lasting effect, survey finds

Trend will continue once restrictions are lifted, but only for some goods

The trend towards online shopping seen during the coronavirus pandemic could continue once the restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus have been lifted, but only for some goods, a new survey claims.

The research, from Banking & Payment Federation Ireland (BPFI), found consumers currently shopping online for goods such as clothes, electronic goods and books, are more likely to continue to do so, with 31 per cent saying they would look online for clothing and sports goods and 26 per cent for toys and games, or for films, music, books.

However, the figures for groceries, hardware and DIY products are less promising for ecommerce, with one in five less likely to shop online.

According to the survey, Irish adults shop online 44 times a year, with 35 per cent claiming to make a purchase at least weekly.


Men are more likely than women to shop online once the restrictions have been fully lifted.

That behaviour is more pronounced among millennials and those classed as GenX, covering a cohort of shoppers aged between 25 and 53 years of age.

For those over 54 – the baby boomer generation – they are less likely to shop online for most categories, except for clothing and sports goods, and films, books and music.

Those categories still show a lower level of interest, however, with only one in five of that age group likely to shop more online.

In the first quarter of 2020, Central Bank figures show almost almost €5.8 billion was spent on credit and debit cards for ecommerce sales, accounting for almost 42 per cent of spending on cards in the quarter.

"Traditional ways of purchasing are changing rapidly, and our findings today emphasise that the shift to online shopping will be further fuelled by the current pandemic which will have a lasting impact in terms of reshaping consumers shopping habits and preferences," said BPFI chief executive Brian Hayes.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

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