Covid-19 has had a huge impact on almost every aspect of our lives, it has affected the way we work, shop and socialise. The lockdown has also had a huge knock-on effect on the economy and with Ireland in the early stages of easing lockdown regulations, many businesses are hoping to see things picking back up over the coming months.
That said, it’s not all been bad news. The e-commerce market in Ireland has been a lifeline for the national economy during these difficult times. Below, we’re going to take a look at the impact that the Coronavirus has had on Irish e-commerce and the economy as a whole, before looking at what this means for the future.
Online shopping and services saw a huge increase
As a result of lockdown restrictions, any non-essential shops were forced to close and people were no longer able to pop to the shops whenever they felt like it. Luckily, many businesses were able to offer online shopping and e-commerce solutions in order to keep trading. In the early stages, there was a bit of a slowdown as businesses and delivery services had to get safety procedures in place. But within weeks, most were able to operate almost as if things were normal (aside from the PPE and social distancing rules of course).
With people unable to shop in person and lots of people now confined to their homes, the e-commerce market saw a huge boom. People were ordering food, clothes, gym equipment and DIY materials to be delivered to their home in a bid to keep themselves fit, healthy and operating as normal as possible under these strange circumstances.
Not to mention, with more free time on their hands many took up new hobbies or begun home and garden maintenance projects to keep themselves busy. This lead to a boom in materials, furnishings and tools being sold online.
The industries that saw the biggest increase in e-commerce revenue
We’ve briefly touched on some of the main areas of e-commerce above, but below we’ll take a look at some of the e-commerce industries that really thrived during the early stages of Ireland’s Covid-19 lockdown and why they did so well. These figures have been shared by The Irish News and we’ll look at these in descending order to see which e-commerce markets saw the biggest growth.
First up, with people unable to take part in team sports or go to the gym, sporting goods saw a 220% increase in online sales throughout April 2020. Many were setting up home gyms or getting new sports goods in their garden, with people finding fun, creative ways to workout. Not only this, but online services such as virtual exercise classes also saw an increase in subscriptions, with people no longer able to attend in person.
Business and industrial
Next, people buying materials, safety gear and even medical products saw the business and industrial markets rising by 188% in April. People were focussing on DIY projects and making the most of their home and garden since they were unable to go out freely to enjoy public spaces. With the virus raging, the medical products speak for themselves.
Arts and entertainment
From new technology such as TVs, to online subscriptions to streaming sites like Netflix and Disney+, the arts and entrainment industry saw a 171% increase in sales during the same period. This is largely due to people being stuck at home and looking for different ways to keep themselves entertained.
Toys and games
What’s more, with children out of school and families able to spend more time together than ever before, it comes as no surprise that the toys and games sales saw a 155% increase. From puzzles and board games, to games consoles and educational software, both adults and children alike were purchasing plenty to keep them smiling and having fun even when they couldn’t go about their lives as normal.
Health and beauty
Despite not having anywhere to go, the health and beauty e-commerce industry was thriving in April. Why? Because self-care became a pivotal point of making it through lockdown. People were encouraged to look after themselves and take some time to relax and rest during this rare occasion where they may not be working or they may be spending a lot more time at home. This resulted in a 152% increase in sales for health and beauty products.
Animal and pet supplies
Not only were families spending more time with one another, but they were also at home with their pets a lot more. This meant a 53% increase in pet and animal supplies online. This could also be a result of many taking this opportunity to adopt new pets, where they may not have had the time to dedicate to house training a new animal before, they’ve now found the time to do so.
This increase will likely continue post-lockdown
While restrictions are slowly easing and shops are beginning to open again, this increase in e-commerce spending isn’t going to disappear altogether. Some people are still shielding or are still very cautious about the virus and therefore online shopping offers them a much-needed life-line so they don’t have to leave the house too often and be amongst the general public.
Similarly, new queuing systems in shops can make going shopping feel like a real chore and it can now take up a big chunk of your day. If that wasn’t enough of a reason to shop online more frequently, the constant need to and sanitise before entering any shop might be. As such, we predict that this increase in e-commerce revenue, although it might see an initial drop from April/June 2020, will still be higher than it was before the virus.
Online shopping and e-commerce services across Ireland have allowed us to keep some sense of normality during this unprecedented time and this doesn’t look like it will slow down just because lockdown has been lifted.