Average online monthly spend hits €245 - Research

90% of people made purchases online in the past month


4 in 10 began shopping online for the first time as pandemic started


Consumers would consider a ‘Virtual Reality’ shopping experience in the future.


Thursday 8th October 2020 - Since the pandemic started, consumers have shown a rapidly increasing preference to shop from home using digital channels with 90% saying they spent money online over the past month, according to research carried out by Virgin Media and carried out independently by Amárach Research.


4 in 10 people (37%) said they began shopping online for the first time - at the start of the pandemic.


The research surveyed over 1,000 people aged 18 and upwards across all regions of the country.


The average online spend across all respondents was €245 in August with half (47%) saying they now shop more online than they ever did previously, since the COVID-19 crisis started.


4 in 10 people said they had spent amounts of up to €100 online in the past month, with a further grouping (40%) saying they spent between €100 and €500 and roughly 10% spending between €500 and €1,000, or more. One in 10 people said they didn’t shop online in the past month.


Taking the above into account, the research estimates current average monthly online spending by consumers at €775m per month or an annualised figure of €9.3bn. This is a conservative estimate given that a significant online Christmas rush can reasonably be expected by year-end. Central Bank data recorded online spending of €15.9bn for the first three quarters of 2019.


44% of people said they shopped online for groceries for the first time ever since the pandemic began.


With new forms of e-commerce being delivered via virtual reality and augmented reality platforms, 50% of people surveyed said they’d be interested in using their laptop or smartphone to navigate a ‘virtual supermarket’ for online shopping.


4 in 10 respondents went a step further and said they’d be interested in wearing a VR headset at home to allow them ‘walk around’ these virtual stores to select and buy products they would like delivered to their home.


Paul Higgins, Vice-President, Virgin Media Ireland said,


“Now, more than ever, reliable broadband and instant connectivity are vitally important to allow people to shop, communicate and unwind. This is in a context where we’ve seen a big increase of over 40% in data usage across our high speed residential network since March and this is continuing. Our research shows that this increased data usage is helping people when they need it most with half of everyone surveyed saying they are now shopping online more than ever before and 44% of people grocery shopping online for the first time.


“What’s of great interest is that people are also more prepared than ever before to try new ways of shopping from home including virtual reality online. With the march of technology, it’s totally within the bounds of reality that this could happen in the future. At Virgin Media, we’ll continue to support and develop new and faster ways to keep everyone connected, and this includes our recent 1Gb broadband boost which will benefit consumers and businesses providing goods and services, enabling them to take advantage of all such developments in real time.”