Ireland Comes In Well Below The Average In The EU For Online Shopping  

Chances are, during the holiday season you either purchased something online for yourself, or (if feeling a bit more generous) for someone else. That’s what I would have thought, anyway. Everyone I know seems to buy stuff online. But it turns out that Ireland comes in well below the average in the EU for online shopping. Barely half of us in Ireland – just 51 per cent – had bought something online by the second quarter of last year, according to an EU Eurostat survey released in mid-December.

By contrast, our neighbours in the UK topped the survey, with 81 per cent making online purchases. The close runnersup were, predictably, the Nordic countries, with Denmark at 79 per cent, and the others also in the 70+ per cent range.

The European average was 65 per cent. Most bought either clothes or sporting goods. Initially, the Irish figure surprised me. Here we are, an acknowledged international technology hub. We have the youngest population in Europe. The fastest growth in e-shopping is amongst younger shoppers.

But then I remembered how ridiculously difficult it can be to buy anything from our near neighbours. For some bizarre reason, a staggering number of UK retailers do not seem to want to sell – or perhaps more precisely, ship – anything to Ireland. When they are willing, the proposed shipping cost, which inevitably and annoyingly only pops up when you are in the closing stages of making a purchase – having filled in address and credit card forms – is astronomical, bearing no relation whatsoever to typical parcel shipment costs between the countries. I’ve been given shipping costs of around €25 for a small parcel. Yeah, right.

Just as irritating is approaching the very end of the purchasing process only to get a message stating either that the company won’t ship to “Eire”, or noting that you must email or ring them to get a shipping quote.
No doubt like like most people in Ireland, I give up right then. Purchase lost to the UK retailer. Having gone through this umpteen times, I now try to check a company’s shipping policies (usually there’s a link to them on the homepage) before even starting the shopping process on a website.

Read the full article on the Irish Times website