An Post: Bark the herald angels sing as people poised to buy presents for their pets

One in five who shop online are buying gifts for their pets

A postman’s best friend is not typically a dog but the hounds of Ireland might do well to paws their hostile barking this month with more and more parcels delivered in the run-up to Christmas likely to be for them.

Research from An Post suggests that the cost-of-living crisis has not been biting dogs quite as hard as their owners, with the pet economy booming and the many of the nation’s animals set to have a feliz Navi-dog.

The latest data from its eCommerce Index suggests that more than one in five people who shop online are buying for their pet with gifts including clothes, treats and even Advent calendars.

The study, carried out among 1,504 members of the public and 366 small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), supports recent research carried out by Irish retailer Petmania suggesting that almost 90 per cent of pet owners plan to buy their pets presents this Christmas.


The impact of endorsements on online pet purchases is likely to increase in the coming years, An Post suggests, with celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart striking deals to promote such products in recent months.

The index is being published at the start of what will be the busiest week ever for online deliveries, said An Post’s director of mails and parcels, Garrett Bridgeman.

He said An Post had handled about two million parcels in the week just gone, with more likely to pass through the system over the next fortnight. He said deliveries would top the Covid-19 pandemic peak, when online trade exploded with most other retail options closed.

“We are likely to stick at that level for the next couple of weeks and then the letters will get really heavy. In a normal day we will handle around one million letters and, closer to Christmas, we will start hitting two million letters a day as people start sending their cards,” he said.

The influence of influencers is also on the increase, according to the index, which found that 71 per cent of 16-24 year olds are making purchases based on the recommendations from celebrities, up from 64 per cent in May. Some 55 per cent of those aged between 25 and 34 are similarly influenced compared with 43 per cent earlier this year.

“We are seeing this new segment opening up and there’s huge growth,” he said. “People are buying these jumpers for their dogs or cats and they’re buying food and treats from the likes of the DSPCA [Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals]. And even boohoo or Zara have pet sections now.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast