Cleaning up: Online sales of cleaning and hygiene products doubles in March
CSO figures show how ICT usage in households has increased during Covid-19 crisis
Communicating with instructors or students via an educational website or portal also doubled in March. File photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters
Online purchases of cleaning and personal hygiene products doubled in March, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
This included toothbrushes and washing detergents, with the number purchasing these products online doubling to 10 per cent compared with 5 per cent in January.
Of internet users, one in six (16 per cent) made online purchases of furniture, home accessories or gardening products, an increase of six percentage points on January. This followed the closure of DIY, hardware and gardening stores during the month, which are due to reopen on Monday.
More than one in eight (13 per cent) internet users made purchases online of food or drink from shops or meal kit providers, more than twice the corresponding figure for January (6 per cent).
Almost a third of daily internet users are using the internet all the time or nearly all the time during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CSO published details on Friday on how information and communications technology (ICT) usage by households and individuals has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The figures show 84 per cent of internet users, who were surveyed in March, were online on a daily basis, while 9 per cent of these used the internet all the time, and another 22 per cent used it nearly all the time.
Communicating with instructors or students via an educational website or portal doubled in March to 13 per cent of internet users, compared with just 7 per cent in January.
The online purchase of tickets for cultural or other events, including cinema, concerts, fairs, and so on, dropped to 23 per cent in March compared with 39 per cent of internet users in January.
CSO statistician Maureen Delamere said recent changes to public life had led to significant changes to people’s online activity.
“Irish life has changed following the introduction in March of the measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said. “People are at home a lot more now, with schools and many workplaces closed. This has had an effect on people’s use of the internet during this time.
“Nine in every 10 internet users surveyed in three weeks in March, since the introduction of these new measures, used email, an increase of four percentage points on the corresponding figure for January.
“With an increase in the number of persons remote working from home or home schooling, and remote meetings by phone, where possible, there has also been an increase in the use of internet telephoning/video calls such as Skype and Zoom.
“Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of internet users used this method of communication in March, an increase of two percentage points on the corresponding period in January (72 per cent).”
Ms Delamere also said that with all primary, second and third level students continuing their education at home, online teaching and learning and the use of online learning platforms for students of all ages has increased.
“Communicating with instructors or students using educational websites/portals almost doubled during this time – 13 per cent of internet users in March compared with 7 per cent in the corresponding survey period in January,” she said.