IRELAND IS DIGITALLY ‘coming of age’, with the majority of Irish consumers now regularly shopping online, according to the Digital Hub Development Agency.
The agency’s end of year report for 2012 said both enterprises and consumers in Ireland were now ahead of their European counterparts in terms of both purchasing and sales online, with more and more consumers turning to the internet to secure value-for-money purchases.
“The economic recession has been making digital more attractive,” said the agency’s chief executive Philip Flynn. “Conducting transactions online is more cost-effective for consumers and businesses alike.”
Flynn commented that there appeared to be “no recession on the internet”, with a survey of companies based in the Digital Hub showing that 44 per cent had increased staff numbers in 2012, two-thirds planned to do so in 2013, and 78 per cent had increased their client base in 2012.
“Our experience is that companies are finding innovative ways to overcome difficulties within the Irish economy,” Flynn said.
“In some cases, they are pursuing more aggressive marketing and sales strategies. For others, their growth can be attributed to moving into – or expanding their existing operations in – international markets.”
The report said that 2.6 million Irish people regularly shopped online, spending an average of €116 each per month.
The end-0f-year statement could be the last one ever produced by the agency, which is set to be merged into Dublin City Council in the coming year.
Among the projects showcased in its statement is a project that allowed six students from a secondary school in Warrenmount, in the Liberties, to connect to a Higher Level Leaving Cert maths class in a school in Clondalkin.
This allowed the students to take a higher level class where they would not otherwise have had the opportunity, the agency said.
One of its landmark projects for 2013 is a link with St James’s Hospital, aimed at developing what Flynn called “digital solutions to common health challenges”.