Almost 7 in 10 Irish SMEs do not provide an online shopping service and risk losing out on Black Friday trade

Black Friday
SME Digital Health Index
by Seán Buckley
28 Nov 2019

Black Friday 2019

As one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year approaches, Irish consumers expect that 62% of their Black Friday weekend spend will be transacted online.*

However, according to the SME Digital Health Index 2019, which analyses Irish SME and consumers’ attitudes to digital technology, fewer than a third of Irish SMEs with a website can take sales orders or process transactions through it.

Broken down by region, only 20% of SMEs in the capital plan on offering any Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. That number drops to 13% in Connacht and Ulster, 12% in rest of Leinster, and just 7% in Munster.


The digital consumer

Despite Irish SMEs’ lack of e-commerce capabilities, almost 6 in 10 consumers (59%) say making online purchases is ‘important’ to them. More than half (53%) believe that online shopping will, at some point, replace traditional shopping.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still compelling enough to mobilise a large cohort of Irish consumers. 45% of them plan on buying products online or in store on one or both days, with 3 in 10 open to persuasion. The intention to buy presents a compelling e-commerce opportunity.


.IE - SME Digital Health Index 2019 - Consumer attitudes to SMEs' digital presence and e-commerce capabilities

Convenience is important

The digital era has raised consumer expectations. Online shoppers want the same level of convenience from their local SMEs that they get from larger retailers. 45% want a click-and-collect service, and 52% want the ability to browse and research a company’s products and services.

They are also patriotic: 81% believe that buying Irish is important. However, in an age of digital convenience, 54% of them will shop with a competitor if their preferred retailer isn’t online, and much of this is spent abroad.

.IE - SME Digital Health Index 2019 - Online services Irish consumers want from their local shops

Irish SMEs must adapt

Commenting on the findings, our Chief Executive David Curtin said:  

“Now more than ever, consumers expect to be able to get the full retail experience online. Given that almost 70% of Irish SMEs’ websites do not have any e-commerce capabilities, most Irish businesses are immediately on the backfoot compared to their digital rivals in Ireland and abroad.

“As a result, a significant portion of Ireland’s online spending goes overseas. To combat this, Irish SMEs must adapt their digital offering in line with changing consumer attitudes to buying goods and services online. This doesn’t mean that all of your business should be online.

Your online presence should complement your in-store experience.

“Providing options such as click-and-collect or the ability to reserve an item in store, are e-commerce methods that are easily adapted for SMEs of all sizes and can encourage in-store shopping.

“This year, there is a national campaign called ‘Green Friday’ which looks to encourage consumers to shop locally and support Irish brands and businesses this Black Friday. Ensuring that consumers have ease of access to Irish products, whether it is in-store, online, or both, plays a huge part in supporting this initiative.”

For further information, visit our SME Digital Health Index page where you can download the full report, supplementary appendices and regional factsheets.

*PWC Black Friday Research 2019