CCPC research shows increase in shopping from Irish based sites post Brexit

March 30, 2022

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has released research it commissioned from Ipsos MRBI in December 2021 examining the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on consumer awareness and behaviours while shopping online. This survey follows on from similar research which took place in 2019 and 2020, before the United Kingdom officially left the European Union.

The 2021 research found that there was strong growth in online shopping from Irish based websites post-Brexit, with 44% of those surveyed buying more from these websites in the past year alone. This change in behaviour is significant, as in 2019, only 1 in 10 of consumers indicated their intent to buy more from Irish based websites post-Brexit. A quarter of those surveyed report that they are purchasing more from local businesses than before the pandemic.  

Further results showed that 16% of consumers have stopped buying from GB based sites post-Brexit, while 44% are buying less in comparison to 2020, when just 18% of consumers stated they would stop buying, or buy less, from GB based sites post-Brexit. When asked about experiencing problems when purchasing from GB websites post-Brexit, 46% of consumers have experienced difficulties and less than half of this group (44%) had their issues resolved. Unexpected costs (e.g. customs charges) and delayed delivery were the most common issues experienced by consumers.  

Commenting on the research, Jeremy Godfrey, Chairperson of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said:

The COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit have both had a significant effect on online shopping by Irish consumers. Our research shows there has been a steady growth in online shopping from Irish websites, and a reduction from websites based in GB. Consumers who buy from outside the EU have fewer protections, and this makes Irish and EU websites more attractive to them. Irish businesses should make sure they are familiar with consumer protection laws and how to comply with relevant requirements. This means they will satisfy their customers’ expectations and avoid the risk of enforcement action by the CCPC.  

The CCPC’s research, which was carried out among 1,000 adults across the country, points to increased opportunity for Irish businesses who sell online, as 38% of people surveyed said they would maintain all of the changes in their online shopping behaviour post pandemic, almost double the number of consumers who indicated the same in 2020.

The CCPC has emphasised that businesses need to ensure that their online information (i.e. contact details) and terms and conditions (i.e. returns/refunds) are compliant with consumer protection laws. This is more important than ever due to consumers having an improved understanding of consumer rights, which is evident when comparing results from previous surveys in 2019 and 2020.

To ensure your business is compliant with consumer law when selling goods or services online, you should visit the CCPC’s Selling Online guide which has a checklist outlining the main obligations when selling online, and where you can find out more about your obligations as an online retailer. 

Download a copy of the CCPC research: CCPC Brexit and COVID-19 consumer behaviour and awareness while shopping online

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