Irish Users Increasing Online Purchases

Internet users in Ireland are becoming more comfortable with online transactions, as evidenced by a 20 percent jump in the number of online purchasers in the past 12 months, according to the fourth annual survey by the Irish Internet Association (IIA).

The survey was carried out among 2,500 IIA members, meaning they have a career or business interest in the Internet. Most of the respondents have been using the Internet for 3-6 years.

Despite their increased confidence in online shopping, most of the respondents restrict their online spending to items they perceive as low risk, such as software, books, travel services, music, financial services, and adult material. They generally spend no more than £500 on each transaction. More than 80 percent of the respondents said they are happy to repeat their online shopping experience.

The weekly content accessed most frequently by the sample is news, followed by information relating to commercial products and services, and educational/research material. Eleven percent access financial services information.

Almost half (43 percent) of the survey respondents said they have decreased the time they spend watching television as a result of the Internet; 28 percent spend less time watching videos, and 11 percent listen to less radio. Most respondents said their newspaper readership has held steady.

Most of the IIA members surveyed have gone online in the past three years. Most use a Windows 95 platform, followed by NT and Windows 98. Only 3 percent are Mac users. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the most popular browser.

The average annual household income for Irish Internet users is $50,347 just $1,000 less than the US average, but almost $2,000 more than the European average, according to the GVU studies.

The IIA survey also found that Irish Internet users are getting younger. The average is now 32, down from 35 almost four years ago. The average age in the US is 36. The gender split of Internet users in Ireland is 65/35 in favor of men, but the trend is toward gender balance. Irish Internet users are also likely to be single, have no children, and live in an urban area.

Irish users still access the Web more frequently from work than home, the survey found, but are more likely to access from home than other Europeans, but not as likely to access from home as Americans.

The IIA members surveyed are likely to be employed in computer-related, educational, professional, and managerial occupations, and are mainly college graduates, with a significant number having postgraduate degrees.

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