24 April 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Dara Murphy TD, Minister of State for European Affairs and Data Protection, has called on small Irish businesses to gear up for e-commerce and embrace opportunities for innovation in the digital economy. Minister Murphy was speaking at the Smart Business Show in the RDS, which he opened today.
“Companies that have developed an e-commerce platform are generally more successful in boosting export sales, as well as generating more inbound customer queries. European Commission research suggests that companies that develop a meaningful online trading presence grow twice as fast, export twice as much, and employ twice as many people,” said Minister Murphy.
“The Government, through the National Digital Strategy being led by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, is committed to supporting Irish firms to develop their digital presence. Already 55% of those companies that have participated in the Trading Online Voucher Scheme launched last July, which is available through the Local Enterprise Offices, have boosted their sales, with 60% also expecting to hire more staff within the next 12 months,” continued Minister Murphy.
“The future is digital, and it’s time for indigenous companies to communicate with existing and potential customers online, through mobile and e-Commerce platforms, enabling them to trade online and compete in the global digital marketplace. The proliferation of mobile devices, together with further advances in data analytics and cloud storage, will also accelerate business opportunities for Irish companies that are mobile-focused and digital-centric,” added Minister Murphy.
It is estimated that Irish consumers spend €6bn online annually, however 60-70% of this online spend goes overseas, as currently less than a quarter of small Irish firms are selling to customers online. The digital economy contributes 4.4% to Ireland’s GDP and is growing at 16% per year. Recent research conducted by Amárach Consulting forecasts that the value of Ireland’s internet economy will reach €21.1bn by 2020, with consumer online spending reaching €12.7bn.