DPDgroup, Ireland’s leading parcel delivery brand reveals the rapidly changing landscape of online shopping in Ireland and Europe in a new E-Shopper Barometer report published today.
In the first and most extensive report to focus on online shopping trends in Europe, Kantar TNS interviewed 23,450 participants across 21 countries*.
The survey highlights micro trends including the most surprising online purchases, the frequency of online shopping by internet users, as well as preferred payment methods across Europe. It also unearths macro trends such as the rapid growth of mobile shopping in countries with lower internet penetration, the increasing preference for e-shopping abroad for bargains, and the importance of transparency and flexibility offered in deliveries and returns.
Maeve Dwyer, Head of Marketing and Customer Services at DPD Ireland commented, “The Irish report provides a clear overview of e-shoppers’ online behaviours and e-commerce trends – these are extremely valuable insights and help us to shape our business. Over the last number of years DPD Ireland has heavily invested in research around the entire customer journey, including the delivery experience. We believe that by looking at the various different steps within that journey, such as ease of ordering, delivery timeframes, returns policies etc, we can ensure a more enjoyable overall shopping experience for the consumer. By improving the consumer’s experience, we generate loyalty not only to the DPD brand but also to the brands of all the etailers who ship with us. We place great importance on our customer feedback and are focused on keeping abreast of changing trends in the industry.”
General Irish market trends:
• With 8.1%, Ireland's declared share of online shopping among total shopping is below the European average (9.6%).
• The level of connectivity to the Internet does not necessarily imply a similar level of regular online shopping: Ireland has a medium level of Internet penetration (81%) vs. the other Western countries, but nearly two thirds of them regularly buy online (51% overall, 63% of Irish Internet users).
• The Irish are amongst the most avid online shoppers for fashion in Europe. They are generally relatively frequent buyers ('at least once a month') - particularly for groceries ('dry goods') and fashion, books and beauty/healthcare.
• Nevertheless, some Irish e-shoppers declared that they might stop purchasing certain items online (39%), naming the need to save money as the main cause (45%).
• Regarding shopping habits, Ireland is in line with the European average of online shopping habits regarding websites, with 83% always or regularly buying on the same websites. Ireland has a high rate of e-shoppers that use tablets to make their purchases compared to other countries, but a laptop is still the favourite device to shop online.
• 75% of Irish e-shoppers has already bought at least once from a foreign website, and unsurprisingly, most commonly from the UK.
• The main drivers for buying abroad are the attraction of better deals and the availability of specific products, whereas the main barriers are concerns over delivery, return and security.
• The types of goods that Irish e-shoppers spent the largest average amounts on were high-tech, electronics and leisure.
• 81% of latest purchases, were made on websites already used before, and 60% of e-shoppers went directly onto that particular website.
• Among the websites last purchased on, Amazon was ahead of other retailers, with twice more visits than eBay.
• Delivery was free for 55% of Irish e-shoppers’ latest purchases (a low percentage compared to other European countries) and home was by far the favored place of delivery (75%), followed by work (10%).
• 6% of e-shoppers returned their latest purchased purchases, of which fashion was the type of goods that was returned the most.
• 62% of e-shoppers considered that their latest online purchase was easy and 96% were satisfied with the experience, leading 88% of them to say that they would continue purchasing that item online.
E-shoppers’ behaviour towards e-shopping
• Ireland is less engaged to e-commerce than other European countries with an E-shopping Engagement Index of 70.2%, which is below the European average of 72.1%.
• The more engaged e-shoppers are, the more they use and are influenced by others’ feedback on social media.
Drivers and barriers to further e-commerce development
• Transparent product pricing and delivery costs and clear return policies are the criteria considered most important when buying online.
• Features most likely to prevent from buying online are websites facing technical problems, complicated return processes and a lack of stock.
Focus on payment and delivery options:
• Paying online by digital wallet (Paypal, Alipay) and Visa/ MasterCard are the preferred payment methods, which is in line with preferred payment methods across Europe.
• Home delivery is currently the most successful place of delivery, but the strongest identified growth opportunity for alternative locations is towards post offices and retail stores.
• Most of the proposed delivery/ return options, and particularly next day delivery, would make e-shoppers more likely to purchase from a website. Heavy buyers are keener than others on same-day delivery.
• 74% would be more inclined to purchase from a website/retailer that offers a 1-hour delivery window/timeslot.
European shoppers look for opportunities in neighbouring countries:
● 52% of e-shoppers have made a purchase from a foreign website, although an analysis of latest online purchases shows that only 17% were made on foreign websites, suggesting significant room for growth.
● Fashion, electronics and books the most popular products types.
● Western European countries favour geographic proximity for purchases on foreign websites with 33% of e-shoppers buying on sites located in neighbouring markets.
● Shoppers need the cross-border experience to improve, particularly delivery and the returns process, as foreign websites do not always take into account specific local requirements or delivery networks.
Ways to shop and pay vary, but trust and flexibility are a key constant
● Most online purchases are still made by laptop or desktop PC. Orders made by smartphone (35%) are growing and 42 % of those surveyed said that they consider a mobile friendly website an essential factor in making purchases.
● Digital wallets e.g. PayPal still outstrip credit cards as the preferred means of payment online (42% to 35%), even in many Western European countries, while cash-on-delivery is most popular in the Eastern Bloc, highlighting the importance of trust when making purchases.
● Home is still the preferred point of delivery for 84 % of participants, but many are considering alternatives such as parcel delivery lockers or post offices, underlining the need for seamless delivery options that fit shoppers’ lifestyles.
● Flexibility is key. Most e-shoppers say next day delivery, real-time tracking and the option to reschedule are more likely to make them purchase from a specific retailer over other delivery options including weekend or evening deliveries. Nearly half of e-shoppers also rely on delivery time notifications provided by the courier.
Heavy buyers drive online shopping, but habits are changing:
● Heavy buyers account for 85 % of declared online purchases in Europe, meaning attracting repeat customers is now more important than ever for e-tailers. Flexible and reliable delivery options will be crucial in encouraging occasional buyers to purchase more frequently.
● Internet penetration does not correlate with the average number of online purchases made each year; just 44 % of e-shoppers in the Netherlands, 94 % population online, buy online once per month or more, compared to 52 % of Italians, just 66 % of population online.
● Fashion, books, electronics, beauty and health products remain most popular across Europe, with some startling local variations. The UK is far ahead in % age of food purchases made online, while German shoppers are the most comfortable ordering medicine from websites.