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09 May 2016

How Healthy is the Irish eCommerce Market?

Posted By: AIB Business

The 2015 Global Retail eCommerce Index ranks markets from big to small and highlights the growth rate of eCommerce worldwide. While the US, UK and China are e-Commerce giants by virtue of their size, smaller countries like Ireland are holding their own albeit growing at a much smaller rate, writes Liz Fulham from SalesOptimize.

It is at times easy to forget that the while the internet may be 30 years old, it is only in the past 16 years that major brands have begun to utilise the opportunities that eCommerce presents. 


Although the eCommerce market is growing at a phenomenal rate, over 94% of retail goods are still sold on the high street and just 37% of the European population are online shoppers. There is an incredible opportunity for expansion and continued growth, as is very evident in this infographic.

The big question for us: Is the “Irish Business Community” ready to take full advantage of these opportunities?

Where there are opportunities, there are also challenges. Successfully addressing these challenges will help enable business owners to leverage the opportunities.

  • Search Engine Challenge
    The single biggest challenge for all online retailers is how to attract customers to their website. Everyone is chasing the elusive first page search result, first entry position on Google, Bing etc. Harnessing the power of deep web analytics reveals that less than 500 Irish online retailers have turnover in excess of €5m a year. Using our own advanced research algorithms, we have established that 90% of Irish online retailers have an annual turnover of less than €1m a year, with 60%+ generating less than €250K annually. Cracking the search engine nut will be the key to success for many eCommerce businesses.

  • MarTech Challenge
    Marketing in this ecosystem is beyond any one solution, with over 3,000+ products available in this sector alone, each claiming to have some aspect of the secret formula to SEO, content management, mobile advertising etc. Choosing the correct technology to achieve your marketing goals and objectives is critical to driving your business forward.

The Outlook

Are we facing an eCommerce future of “the internet of giants” vs “the internet of the world”? Ireland needs to face the next big wave of innovation. And this wave is eCommerce and Big Data. We have to recognise the challenge posed by the current search engines and their advertising practices and search algorithms. With a natural entrepreneurial culture inherent in us and a thriving start-up nation, is it only a matter of time before we harness the power of our nation, own our intellectual property, and unleash the opportunity that is business online?

Enterprise Ireland does a great job, at home and abroad, supporting and helping start-ups, but we need a whole community approach. Banks are looking to help start-ups, while schools and colleges should prioritise science and computing so our knowledge capital keeps pace.

And if we come together to support this critical economic challenge, could Ireland Inc. be the place to bring “big data analytics” to small businesses and organisations? We know that we are looking closely at disruptive technologies in the search engine space; maybe we should come together as a community and tackle this in a co-ordinated approach. Perhaps now is the time to capitalise on the incredible network we have in Ireland and the helping hand we give each other!

Written by: Liz Fulham, Founder and CEO, SalesOptimize – helping businesses to quantify the true size of their B2B eCommerce market and identify new online shop leads


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