According to the assessment by Trade Economics, Ireland’s retail sales increased by 3.7% year on year, in December 2018. This trend is expected to continue at a projected growth rate of around 2.5% until 2020. While inconclusive factors, such as Brexit, continue to niggle at confidence levels, the Irish economy looks strong and, according to PWC’s latest Global Economic Outlook, is set to be the fastest growing Eurozone economy over the next 5 years to 2024.
This is indeed positive news for the Irish economy and for retailers. Backing this growth is the accelerated levels of disruption caused by new technologies like AI and voice assisted search that are irrevocably shaping the future of retail, and the only certainty is the pace of change. Without digging into the technical trends shaping retail, in this article we will look at the high level trends that are influencing the shopping habits of consumers right now.
Online shopping continues to be a growing market as consumers increasingly opt for ease and convenience. An estimated 25% of Irish consumers shop online weekly. The seamless use of mobiles in the purchasing process is an expected user experience. Googles’ mobile first indexing is an indication of the rise and significance of mobile phones in this exercise. Irish consumers spent and incredible €5billion online last year, €3billion of which went to overseas retailers.
While many Irish retailers do online extremely well, there is clearly opportunity for more local businesses to capitalise on this market.
Despite consumer spending reaching a high of €25,542 million in the 3rd quarter of 2018, consumers continue to be value conscious, and there is a strong focus on supporting local products and retailers. People are more conscious of where their food comes from and the fact that it is being sourced locally can be a sign of quality. Some people are opting for the handcrafted, artisanal, foods as opposed to the mass produced, while others focus on the environmental impact of their purchases, whether this is by reducing the carbon footprint by buying goods that have not been shipped from far away, or by not using plastic products, in order to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the ocean. Supporting local, inevitably, also supports the economy.
Although technology is driving the rate of innovation within online retail, this is also happening in-store. Mobile payment is set to double in Ireland by 2023. However the brick and mortar of retail continues to remain relevant as consumers shift their focus to customer service and experience. The majority of Irish shoppers (73%) shop in-store yet only 36% of those shoppers were satisfied with the experience. Experiential marketing is increasingly prevalent in-store as brands find new and innovative ways to engage with busy consumers. However the consumers’ main point of contention in-store was lack of product knowledge by the sales assistants.
Reflecting on the list above, some of these trends, such as in-store service, are relatively straight forward to fix and can be implemented as quick wins, while others, like instituting a mobile e-commerce site, may take more time and planning. If you choose not to do it now, you can be certain that your competitors will do so, the slice of the pie is just too big not to be taken seriously.
At FMI we are retail sales experts. We work across a mix of industries, and we deliver a variety of retail sales solutions. So if you feel like you need a little direction and inspiration, get in touch with our team of experts today and learn how we can help you to increase your retail sales. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.