Ireland - eCommerceIreland - eCommerce
The Irish Government’s attitude and approach to internet-related issues is progressive and facilitative. Ireland was one of the first EU member states to implement the Electronic Signatures Directive through the Electronic Commerce Act 2000 (ECA). Ireland has also implemented the Electronic Commerce Directive. The general legislative approach is consistent with the government’s stated aim of retaining a light and flexible technology-neutral regulatory regime in this area.
The Irish online economy is becoming increasingly vibrant with the growth in total online spend estimated at around 20% year-on-year. Market value estimates vary significantly, ranging from €4 billion to €7 billion annually. A 2018 report by PayPal indicates that Irish consumers favor shopping at international online stores. About 2.2 million Irish consumers made a purchase from an overseas website in the last 12 months, compared to 2.1 million making domestic purchases. The study forecasts that Irish consumers will spend €7.8 billion online in 2018, rising to €10.1 billion by 2020.
Increased household internet access (89%) and smartphone usage (90%) is driving Irish online retailing activity. Mobile commerce is becoming especially strong with consumers being particularly willing to make purchases via their smartphones. Travel, hotel accommodation, event ticketing and apparel are the principal goods and services bought online.
According to EuroMonitor International, internet retailing in Ireland continues to expand rapidly with mobile internet retailing becoming especially significant. Retailers are launching fully-functional mobile apps while store-based retailers are increasingly utilizing multi-channel options. Click-&-collect services have become more widely available, allowing retailers to maximize retail potential without incurring delivery fees, while the consumer has almost immediate access to purchases without having to plan for deliveries. Amazon remains the leading player in internet retailing locally while UK-based online marketplaces retain a strong market penetration. More Irish firms are creating online sales portals on the back of successful online activities of firms such as Aer Lingus, Ryanair, and Ticketmaster.
The Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) provides rules for online services in the EU. It requires providers to abide by rules in the country where they are established (country of origin). Online providers must respect consumer protection rules such as indicating contact details on their website, clearly identifying advertising and protecting against spam. The Directive also grants exemptions to liability for intermediaries that transmit illegal content by third parties and for unknowingly hosting content.
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