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Internet Purchases

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The data for this survey was collected during the first half of 2021, during which, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there would have been varying degrees of on street retail closures.  Users should note this when analysing the data which follows.

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Almost eight in ten (79%) internet users purchased goods and/or services online in 2021. The number of females purchasing online (in the previous three months) was substantially higher than males. Of female internet users, 83% purchased online, compared with 75% of males. Younger age groups were also more inclined to shop online. Nine in ten (90%) internet users aged between 16 and 44 years shopped online in the previous three months, compared with just 58% of older internet users in the 60 to 74 years age group. Only 9% of persons (who use the internet) never bought or ordered goods and/or services over the internet. See Table 3.1.

Show Table: Table 3.1 Percentage of individuals aged 16 years and over who bought or ordered goods and/or services online, 2021

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Households with dependent children were more likely to shop online. For survey respondents living in households with two or more adults with dependent children, nine in ten internet users bought goods and/or services online, compared with 78% of households with two or more adults but with no dependent children. See Table 3.1 and Figure 3.1.

Within the last 3 months
1 adult no dependent children64
2 adults no dependent children78
3 or more adults no dependent children78
1 adult with dependent children83
2 adults with dependent children89
3 or more adults with dependent children90
First quintile - very disadvantaged72
Second quintile - disadvantaged72
Third quintile - average77
Fourth quintile - affluent83
Fifth quintile - very affluent88
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The survey data also shows that the prevalence of online shopping increases as the affluence of the geographical area where the person resides increases. Nearly nine in ten (88%) internet users living in very affluent areas shopped online in the previous three months, compared with 72% of internet users residing in disadvantaged/very disadvantaged areas. See Table 3.1 and Figure 3.1.

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The most popular online purchase in 2021 was clothes (includes sports clothing), shoes or accessories (includes bags, jewellery, etc.), with eight in every ten (80%) internet users buying such items. Sports and sports facilities like gyms would have experienced varying degrees of restrictions over Q1 and Q2 of 2021. Three in ten internet users (30%) bought sports goods (includes sports gear and equipment but excludes sports clothing) online. Females were far more likely to buy clothes, shoes or accessories – 88% of females compared with 71% of males. Conversely, over one third of males (34%) bought sports goods online, compared with 27% of females. See Table 3.2.

Show Table: Table 3.2 Individuals who use the internet classified by types of physical goods purchased online during the last 3 months, 2021

16-2930-4445-5960-74
Clothes, shoes or accessories82.8286.78163.71
Sports goods36.933.8933.3915.82
Ready-made food delivered59.567.1942.9327.47
Food/beverages from stores or meal-kit providers17.222.812.4210.36
Cosmetics beauty or wellness products383527.8616
Furniture/home accessories or gardening products35.5246.0635.9427.56
Children's toys or childcare items37343316
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As part of the response to COVID-19, in person usage of hospitality would have been closed to varying degrees over the period of the survey.

Half (50%) of internet users made online purchases (in the three months prior to interview) 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. See Table 3.2 and Figure 3.2.

All hairdressers, beauty salons, nail salons, etc. were closed to varying degrees as part of the COVID-19 measures put in place. Of internet users surveyed, three in ten (30%) made online purchases of cosmetics, beauty or wellness products within the three months prior to interview. Four in ten (40%) females purchased such products in 2021, compared with over one in five (21%) males. See Table 3.2 and Figure 3.2.

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Of internet users surveyed, 38% made online purchases in the previous three months of furniture/home accessories or gardening products. See Table 3.2 and Figure 3.2.

Three in ten (30%) internet users bought children’s toys and childcare items online in the previous three months. Internet users living in households with dependent children were more likely to purchase such items. Over half (51%) of internet users living in households of two adults with dependent children, bought children’s toys and childcare items online, while 46% of internet users residing in households comprising of one adult with dependent children, bought such items on the internet. See Table 3.2 and Figure 3.2.

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During 2021, many people were working from home, school children and third level students were schooling from home for some time during 2021, and people were, in general, spending more time at home, with Government restrictions in place and retail and hospitality closed for some time. Over one quarter (27%) of internet users bought computer tablets, mobile phones or accessories online in 2021, while just over one in five (21%) purchased consumer electronics (TV sets, stereos, cameras, etc.) or household appliances (washing machines, etc.). See Table 3.2 and Figure 3.2.

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Nearly one in five (19%) internet users made online purchases of bought medicine or dietary supplements (such as vitamins but excludes medical prescriptions) within the previous three months, while 13% purchased cleaning products or personal hygiene products (includes toothbrushes, washing detergents, etc). Females were more likely than males to buy medicine or dietary supplements and cleaning products or personal hygiene products. In 2021, over one in five (21%) females purchased medicine or dietary supplements online compared with 16% of males, while 14% of females bought cleaning products or personal hygiene products on the internet, compared with one in eight (12%) males. See Table 3.3.

Show Table: Table 3.3 Individuals aged 16 years and over who use the internet classified by types of physical goods purchased online during the last 3 months, 2021

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Respondents were asked from whom they bought these goods in the previous three months. Online purchasing from national sellers is the most common, with over four in five (83%) persons buying or ordering their goods from national sellers. By comparison, 64% of persons who purchased online bought goods from sellers from other EU countries, while 38% reported purchasing from sellers from the rest of the world. See Table 3.4.

Note that more than one option could be selected by respondents.

Show Table: Table 3.4 Individuals aged 16 years and over who bought or ordered goods online in the last 3 months by origin of seller, 2021

Females were more likely than males to purchase from national sellers online – 85% of females compared with 80% of males. Males were more likely to buy goods online from sellers from other EU countries or from the rest of the world. Seven in ten (70%) male internet users purchased goods online from sellers from other EU countries, compared with 59% of females, and 46% of males bought goods online from sellers from the rest of the world, compared with just over one third (34%) of females. See Table 3.4 and Figure 3.3.

"" "" ""
MaleFemale
National sellers8085
Sellers from other EU countries7059
Sellers from the rest of the world4634
Country of origin of seller is unknown78
From private persons via a website/app2924

Over one quarter (26%) of internet users who bought goods online purchased from a private individual on such platforms as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc. Nearly three in ten (29%) males bought goods on such online platforms, compared with nearly one quarter (24%) of females. See Table 3.4 and Figure 3.3.

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In relation to health and fitness, 17% of internet users surveyed stated that they purchased apps related to health or fitness, while 13% bought other apps online (including apps related to learning languages, travelling, weather, etc). See Table 3.5.

Almost one in five (19%) females bought or subscribed to Apps related to health and fitness, compared with 15% of males. Also, 22% of persons aged 16 to 44 years bought or subscribed to these apps, compared with just 7% of the older 60 to 74 years age group. See Table 3.5.

Show Table: Table 3.5 Individuals aged 16 years and over who bought or subscribed to apps or streaming services during the last 3 months, 2021

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Digital content, such as films, series, box sets, music, e-books, etc. are available through streaming, downloads or cloud computing platforms. In 2021, half (50%) of internet users surveyed bought or subscribed to apps or streaming service for films/series, as streaming service or download, while nearly four in ten (38%) bought or subscribed to apps or streaming services for music streaming or download. Males were more likely than females to buy or subscribe to such apps or streaming services, with 54% of males subscribing to film streaming services or apps compared with 46% of females, while just over one third (34%) of females bought or subscribed to music streaming series or download compared with 43% of males. See Table 3.5.

Analysis of the data by age shows that younger persons in the 16 to 29 years age group were more inclined to buy or subscribe to these streaming services or downloads. Almost six in ten (59%) of this age group bought or subscribed to apps or streaming services for films, series, etc. compared with just one third of those in the 60 to 74 years age group. Similarly, 56% of internet users in the younger age group bought or subscribed to apps or streaming services for music, compared with just one quarter of those on the older 60 to 74 years age group. See Table 3.5.

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In 2021, one in eight internet users (12%) purchased tickets to cultural or other events online (includes online events) while just 2% bought tickets to sports events online. See Table 3.6. Again, the different COVID-19 related restrictions which were in force in 2021 should be borne in mind when looking at this data.

Almost one quarter (24%) of internet users surveyed during this period, purchased subscriptions to internet or mobile phone connections. See Table 3.6.

Show Table: Table 3.6 Individuals aged 16 years and over who use the internet classified by other services purchased online during the last 3 months, 2021

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With the increase in the purchase of goods and services online, the frequency of these internet purchases increased also. Three in ten (30%) individuals who purchased online did so more than ten times in the previous three months, while 18% bought between six and ten internet purchases. Females were more likely than males to purchase more – one third of females bought ten or more purchases online compared with 27% of males. Over four in ten (41%) internet users aged 30 to 44 years made more than ten purchases online in the previous three months. See Table 3.7.

Show Table: Table 3.7 Individuals aged 16 years and over who purchased over the internet in the last 3 months, classified by number of purchases made in this period, 2021

Go to next chapter: Sharing Economy