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Press Statement


10 December 2021

Household Digital Consumer Behaviour 2021

Eight in 10 internet users now buy goods or services online
  • Of female internet users, 83% purchased online compared with 75% of males
  • At an overall level, the most popular online purchase was clothes, shoes or accessories (includes bags, jewellery, etc.) (80%) while 30% bought sports goods
  • Half (50%) of internet users bought online ready-made food delivered (includes takeaways), while 16% purchased food/drinks from stores or meal-kit providers
  • Nearly seven in 10 (68%) of internet users obtained information online from public authorities and services websites or apps, and two-thirds (67%) looked up health-related information online
  • Eight in 10 (80%) of internet users used internet telephoning/video calls (such as MS Teams, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.)
  • More than three in 10 (31%) of internet users did an online course in 2021

Go to release: Household Digital Consumer Behaviour 2021

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (10 December 2021) published the second of three publications on the results of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Household Survey which was carried out in Quarters 1 and 2, 2021. The detail in this publication is a subset of the broader data collected. The first publication “Internet Security and Information Integrity” was published on 06 December and the third and final publication “Internet Access and Usage in Ireland 2021” will be published on 14 December. This publication today on “Digital Consumer Behaviour” covers individuals’ use of e-commerce including shared economy, internet activities, their use of e-Government, online learning and ICT skills.

Commenting on the report, Maureen Delamere, Statistician, said: "Life in Ireland has changed quite substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of restrictions on movement has seen the number of hours people spend on the internet for work or personal reasons increase. In 2021, we were online more than ever, working from home, relying on technology and digital services. 

Almost eight in 10 (79%) of internet users purchased goods and/or services online in 2021. The number of females purchasing was higher than males. Of female internet users, 83% purchased online, compared with 75% of males.

The most popular online purchase in 2021 was clothes (includes sports clothing), shoes or accessories (includes bags, jewellery, etc.), with eight in every 10 (80%) internet users buying such items. Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres did not re-open until mid-2021. Also, sports fixtures and training sessions were cancelled, to varying degrees, during lockdown periods. Three in ten (30%) bought sports goods (includes sports gear and equipment but excludes sports clothing) online.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic saw varying restrictions on the hospitality sector. Half (50%) of internet users made online purchases of ready-made food delivered (from restaurants, fast food chains or catering delivery services), while 16% of internet users bought food/beverages from stores or meal-kit or food box providers.”

Looking at online communication, Maureen Delamere, Statistician, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in remote working from home. Eight in 10 (80%) of internet users used internet telephoning/video calls (Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, etc.). Email was the most popular activity carried out on the internet - 93% of internet users surveyed in 2021 used email.

People also chose to use online communication channels, and in 2021 seven in 10 (70%) of internet users used social networking. The data shows that the younger you are, the more likely you are to use social networking. Almost nine in 10 (89%) of persons aged 16 to 29 years communicated on social network platforms. Instant messaging such as via Skype, Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber was reported by 84% of internet users.

People were also choosing to upskill during this time using online resources. More than three in 10 (31%) reported doing an online course, compared with just 13% in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. However, some used online learning material and resources to aid their learning (such as audio-visual materials, online learning software, electronic textbooks, etc.)  other than a complete online course. In 2021, 36% of internet users reported using such online learning resources, compared with just one in five (21%) in 2019.

With regard to the sharing economy, in 2021, just 4% of internet users rented accommodation (room, apartment, house, holiday cottage, etc.) via a website or app from a private person (for example Airbnb), while 15% arranged accommodation on a digital platform from a commercial enterprise such as hotel, travel agency, etc."

In terms of the use of e-Government, Maureen Delamere, further commented:At an overall level, nearly seven in 10 (68%) of internet users obtained information from public authorities’/public services’ websites or apps (such as the COVID Tracker App), while two thirds (66%) submitted completed forms online.

For further information contact:

Maureen Delamere (+353) 21 453 5081 or Caroline Barrett (+353) 21 453 5485

or email

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