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Online behaviour of Irish consumers in lockdown revealed

Online behaviour of Irish consumers in lockdown revealed

 

– Searches for luxury travel, mobile payments and mortgage deals on the up –

– Search term ‘luxury travel’ risen from -42% in March to -7% in May –

 Insights into the behaviours of Irish consumers online, since the Government lockdown began in March, have been revealed. The findings, shared by Co. Clare-based marketing agency, Core Optimisation, detail the search terms that Irish consumers have been most-interested in during this time, offering an insight into various sectors and categories. The insights also detail what tools Irish consumers are using to support their searches.

The data serves as an opportunity for businesses to better understand market conditions within their sector and make informed decisions on how they communicate with customers and adapt their offerings, now and into the future.

Throughout April, the search terms ‘home delivery’ and ‘buy online’ saw an increase in query volume almost triple that of the same period in 2019. Within the ‘buy online’ query,  searches for ‘paint’ are up 700% more than usual and searches for the video game ‘Grand Theft Auto’ are up 250% more than usual.

Searches related to consumer electronics had huge growth rising by 60% in April, compared to the first three months of the year, unsurprising given the increase in those working from home. The terms with the most growth included ‘computers’ which rose in popularity by 16% in April compared to March. The search term ‘electronics warranty plans’ rose from 0.4% to 27% in the same period.

Interestingly, wearable tech has had a huge growth in search, with search terms within the ‘electronic apparel accessories’ category rising from -14% in March to 18% in April.

The lockdown has understandably brought about a spike in online shopping and purchases across various sectors, but most-interestingly, the seismic growth experienced in Ireland, signals that online shopping is now likely relied upon by those who would have resisted it pre-lockdown.

According to co-founder of Core Optimisation, Caroline Dunlea, this is something all businesses should be aware of and she is urging businesses to listen to these new consumer habits.

“We hope that the insights we’ve gathered and revealed today will support businesses to make educated, trend-led marketing responses now and into the future, to transform their sales performance.

“The insights reveal a continued strength and increased consumer trust in online, and this poses a huge opportunity for Irish retail businesses. For example, the demand for paint may have been a missed opportunity for hardware businesses not selling online. Even those consumers who may have resisted online shopping pre-pandemic are now comfortable with the idea and it’s likely this new-found confidence and trust will remain.

“The last few weeks have taught us that consumers are heavily-reliant on online be it for research purposes or making purchases and that the most-resilient businesses are online. However, some Irish businesses have been historically slow to develop their online, particularly when it comes to e-commerce, with Irish consumers relying heavily on international brands when it comes to purchasing in some categories.

“Now is the time for businesses who have yet to invest in their online to do so, to give their business the best chance at surviving and overcoming the on-going effects of the pandemic.”

Core Optimisation examined various sectors and categories including hospitality, financial services and health and beauty.

While online searches in Ireland related to the domestic hospitality sector, such as ‘hotel deal’ and ‘weekend break’ decreased by 90% in April, based on searches in January of this year. However, there has been an increase in online sessions related to Irish hotels in May signalling that consumers are beginning to explore this possibility once again.

The luxury travel market may emerge as the quickest to recover with the search term ‘luxury travel’ experiencing an upward curve since mid-March, rising from -42% to -7% in May.

Dunlea said: “Irish consumers are expressing an interest in the luxury travel market and that is because the perception of and the expectation on luxury accommodations is that hygiene and consumer safer are more-considered. As we move out of lockdown and consumers consider taking a holiday later this summer, it’s these factors that will be of the most-importance to them. It’s going to be key for hospitality businesses to ensure that they are communicating these factors moving forward to bring about positive engagements from their potential customers.”

 

Within the financial services sector from April 1 to May 9, online searches for ‘mortgage rates’ have increased by 25% year-on-year and searches for ‘interest rates’ have increased by 43% year-on-year, suggesting that consumers are in a spiked research phase regarding their financial wellbeing and the hunt for value for money. The search term ‘compare mortgage rates online’ experienced an increase of 250% year-on-year during May.

 

Searches in Ireland regarding ‘mobile payments’ have increased by 44% year-on-year in May, indicating that digital wallets will be a primary shopping tool for consumers and that businesses, both retail and banking, will need to continue to adapt quickly in this area.

 

Overall, consumers are browsing 76% more on mobile and 99% more time on computer devices (laptop, desktop, tablet) over the last two months than in the same period in 2019.They are also spending 57% longer on social media, signalling the need for businesses to remain as active here as possible.

Co-Owner Caroline Dunlea said: “Communication on social media has emerged as more important than ever. It’s important to remain engaged with your customers and provide informative, useful content. This may be particularly useful to service-based businesses which are closed at the moment, such as those in the health and beauty industry or fitness industry, as people search for tutorials and trusted information on performing treatments at-home. Stepping in and sharing this information will allow to remain of value with existing customers and build authority with a new audience.

“Businesses also need to know that customers are using mobile more than ever before and so, if they don’t have a website optimised for mobile, they are likely missing out on engagements and conversions, and should rectify that if possible. The pandemic is a great opportunity for us all as business owners to review our operations and offerings with critical and objective eyes. Our insights reveal that websites should be top of that list and businesses need to be asking themselves if there is any way they can make the customer experience here better or easier or faster to ensure maximum conversion.”

For more information visit coreoptimisation.com

 

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Michael Flood is the Editor of Ireland's leading travel industry publication, Irish Travel Trade News. With more than 35 years experience, he has accumulated an in-depth knowledge of the airline industry and the travel and tourism world.

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