Irish Consumers Getting In Line To Go Online This Christmas

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Tue Jul 29 2008

A leading Irish ecommerce firm has predicted that the number of consumers shopping online this Christmas could increase by as much as 50% in comparison to the same period last year. says that although traditional high-street retail activity is suffering a downturn, Internet sales in Ireland are likely to smash all previous records this year as more and more price-conscious and time-poor consumers do their festive shopping online.

The company warned, however, that the Irish retail sector had not fully explored the potential of the online shopping market and was losing out on potential business to competitors throughout the world.

It indicated that many Irish small and medium enterprises needed to adapt to the growing trend among consumers who were opting to order their gifts from the comfort of their own home.

‘There is no doubt that the Internet has transformed the way Irish consumers shop and interact with the companies from which they buy’, commented Mr. Paul McGurran, Director of ecommerce,

He explained, ‘Consumers, as they become more Internet-savvy, are using the Web to research gift purchases in the lead up to Christmas. Once they have narrowed down their selection many shoppers will actually visit numerous stores based on this research. Therefore, for a certain category of shopper the Internet is the first place they look prior to making a store visit.’

Mr. McGurran added that the increase in online retail activity was stimulated by numerous other factors, including time-poor consumers, greater broadband penetration across Ireland and Irish people living abroad.

‘There is a growing tendency for shoppers to leave Christmas gift buying later into the festive season and due to time pressures many will purchase online. This option gives last minute shoppers a wide selection of possible gifts, often coming with a gift-wrapping service as extra. The online shop also takes on the role of shipping items onwards to the recipient’, said Mr. McGurran.

He continued, ‘Furthermore, many Irish abroad find the Web the obvious place to do their Christmas shopping for family still based in Ireland. This works both ways - some ex-pats will go online and use Irish based online shops to get attractive shipping rates, and conversely some Irish based consumers with family abroad may also send gifts via local online shops to friends overseas.’

The increase in shoppers using the Internet to purchase Christmas gifts is not an Irish phenomenon, with similar trends being experienced throughout much of Europe. Research shows that increasing numbers of people spend more time researching and buying online in the run-up to Christmas in comparison to those who do the same on the high street.

In the UK, the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index claims there was a 65% increase in the numbers shopping online last Christmas compared the 2006 festive season. In recent years, the Royal Mail has had to employ extra staff to cope with the increasing volumes of mail that has arisen as a result of increased online purchases.

Commenting on the wide-ranging benefits for retailers that trade online, Mr. McGurran said, ‘Once a retailer starts trading online they immediately open up their shop to consumers beyond their natural catchment area. We notice that many of Magico’s clients are getting Web orders from London, Berlin, Dublin, Cork and from remote parts of Ireland. Often orders come in from towns and regions where the retailer does not have a physical retail presence.’

He pointed out that companies that had expanded their business into the online market were also experiencing an increased footfall on their premises.

Mr. McGurran stated, ‘Both sides of the business benefit each other because a lot of people browse at home and come in to buy and other people go to the stores and then buy on the Internet. However, many Irish retailers have yet to realise this and are unknowingly denying themselves profits at the most lucrative time of the year.’

‘Irish businesses need to sit up and take notice of the steady growth in retailing via the Internet in the run up to and during the Christmas period. With the much talked of slowdown in the Irish economy and an increasingly price conscious consumer, Irish retailers really have no option but to invest in their own ecommerce and online sales store’, concluded Mr. McGurran. was established in 1999 and currently employs 13 people at its headquarters in Ennis, County Clare. Its current client base includes, The Bag Shop, Smyths Toys, Irish Auctioneers & Valuers Institute, Evergreen Healthfood, Munster Rugby Supporters Club, Freshways Sandwiches, Sisk Builders and Fitzpatrick Design Hotels.

The team consists of industry experts who have worked on large Irish and overseas ICT projects with partners such as IBM, Microsoft,, Ireland Online, Bank of Ireland Asset Management, and many more.

In 2005, the ecommerce, online sales and marketing firm received the ‘Best Web Design and Development Agency Award’ at the prestigious Golden Spider Awards, the Oscars of Ireland’s Internet industry. Since this success, the company has been shortlisted for a Golden Spider award every year, as well as being shortlisted in the Web Development Company of the Year category at the ICT Excellence Awards.

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Notes to Editor:
- Mr. Paul McGurran, Director of e-Commerce Business Unit, is available for interview and further comment. Call 065-6864580/086-8520217 or email paulmcg(at)
- About Paul McGurran: Paul joined Magico from Cash's Mail Order where as e-Commerce Marketing Manager he helped to significantly grow online sales from the North American market. For over three years he had a "hands on" role in running a busy Online Store. He was responsible for online product merchandising, email marketing campaigns, affiliate marketing, interactive catalogue and e-commerce strategy.Since 1995
Paul has advised both national and international clients (Royal Mail, Ediets Europe,, Royal & SunAlliance) on how to get the most from the Internet. Between 1991 and 1994 he worked in marketing positions in Dusseldorf, Germany with a business-to-business magazine publishing house. While at Pira International, a UK based electronic publishing consultancy, he authored a pan-European management study entitled "Corporate Web Strategies in Europe". At Webfactory in Dublin he advised among others VHI, Sherry Fitzgerald, Slendertone and Careersworld. Relocating to Limerick Paul joined BDO Simpson Xavier where he acted as eBusiness Advisor to the Lynch Hotel Group, SPS International and Stockbyte. Paul graduated from University of Limerick with an honours degree in European Studies in 1991. He has since taken courses in Strategy (MBA), Digital Marketing and Project Management. In 2002 he returned to UL to research the impact of the "E-Service Profit Chain" on online shopping journey at the AIB Centre for Information & Knowledge Management.
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