Author: Andy Mulcahy, Editor, eCommerce Worldwide and IMRG
DESI is a mechanism by which the EC measures the relative maturity of an EU member state against the objectives of the Digital Agenda – a drive to increase the digital economies of EU member states and thereby promoting digitally-enabled cross-border trade, otherwise known as the Digital Single Market.
There is an interesting split in levels of internet access (77% in the north for example), partly reflecting the rural nature of much of the country. Demographically, there is also an interesting distribution of households with access to the internet with large domestic groups, either all adults or those with dependent children being more likely to have internet access. The group most likely to have access are those consisting of two adults and two children; a group also interesting to most marketers. Interestingly, 77% of households in Northern Ireland have access to super fast broadband (above 33 mbps) according to Ofcom in 2015.
In common with other countries with more advanced digital infrastructure, consumption patterns of media are changing dramatically, while online transactions are increasing. For example, nearly half of all adult internet users are consuming news output via digital channels. This is 20% lower than the EU average but overall levels of internet access are higher. By contrast, 68% of households with a television are consuming video on demand (VOD). Likewise, the use of social networking sites, online shopping and banking are all ahead of the EU average, indicating a willingness to transact online. Ireland.
In 2015 eir (Eircom Limited; www.eir.ie) carried out a consumer survey which, amongst other areas, looked at the types of devices present in households. Laptops were still the most popular device although this had fallen off by a modest 3% over the previous year. Tablets are certainly in the ascendency while smart TVs are one of the biggest gainers. This is reflected in the strong usage of VOD highlighted in the EC DESI data.
Overall, the picture being presented indicates an increasing adoption of digital technologies for accessing products and services. From a broader perspective, international merchants would be advised to not ignore the more traditional forms of communication; particularly when looking at building a brand in the country, even one that is only going to be available digitally.