Online sales by businesses registered in Ireland accounted for just 6.5% of all retail sales in December, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). This was up slightly from the 6% recorded the previous month.
However, the numbers come with a health warning. They don’t capture online sales with foreign companies such as Amazon, which accounts for the lion’s share of online transactions here.
The CSO has no legal right to request data from these companies and therefore the level of retail sales made online – due to digitization and as a result of Covid-19 – is not known. .
The increase in deliveries made by An Post suggests that online sales in Ireland have soared in recent years.
CSO data shows that in the pre-pandemic month of December 2019, the proportion of retail sales generated online by businesses registered in Ireland was 4.1%.
In the first three months of 2020, the share of online sales held steady at 3.2% in January, 3.5% in February and 4.5% in March, the CSO said.
After the first lockdown on March 27, online sales surged to account for 15.3% of total retail turnover in April 2020.
“There were similar but less dramatic increases in online sales share during subsequent shutdowns,” the agency said.
Ireland was placed under Tier 5 restrictions for six weeks from October 21, 2020 and was again placed under Tier 5 restrictions on December 31, 2020. Following these restrictions, the share of online sales was 12 .4% in November 2020, 11% in January 2021 and 11.8% in February 2021, he said.
Excluding car, fuel and bar sales, the share of online retail sales in December 2019 was 6.6%. This figure rose to 22.7% of total sales in April 2020 during the first lockdown.