CCPC study shows increase in purchases from Ireland-based sites after Brexit
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) published a study it commissioned from Ipsos MRBI in December 2021 examining the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit on consumer awareness and behaviors during their online purchases.
This survey follows similar research that took place in 2019 and 2020, before the UK officially left the European Union. The 2021 study found there was strong growth in online shopping on Irish-based websites post-Brexit, with 44% of respondents buying more from these websites in the past year alone.
This change in behavior is significant because in 2019, only 1 in 10 consumers indicated their intention to buy more from Ireland-based websites post-Brexit. A quarter of respondents say they buy more from local businesses than before the pandemic.
Other results showed that 16% of consumers stopped buying from UK-based sites after Brexit, while 44% are buying less compared to 2020, while only 18% of consumers said that they would stop buying or buy less from UK-based sites after Brexit. . When asked about problems with shopping on UK websites post-Brexit, 46% of consumers experienced difficulties and less than half of this group (44%) had their problems resolved. Unexpected costs (eg customs fees) and delivery delays were the most common issues faced by consumers.
Commenting on the study, Jeremy Godfrey, Chairman 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 that there has been a steady growth in online shopping on Irish websites and a reduction on UK based websites. Consumers buying from outside the EU have fewer protections, making Irish and EU websites more appealing to them. Irish businesses should ensure they are aware of consumer protection laws and how to comply with applicable requirements. This means that they will meet their customers’ expectations and avoid the risk of enforcement action by the CPCC”.
The CCPC research, which was conducted with 1,000 adults across the country, indicates an increased opportunity for Irish businesses selling online, as 38% of respondents said they would maintain any changes in their behavior online shopping post-pandemic, nearly double the number of consumers who indicated the same in 2020.
The CCPC stressed that businesses must ensure that their online information (i.e. contact details) and terms and conditions (i.e. returns/refunds) comply with the laws on consumer protection. This is more important than ever as consumers have a better understanding of consumer rights, which is evident when comparing results from previous surveys in 2019 and 2020.
To ensure that your business is compliant with consumer law when selling goods or services online, you should consult the CCPC’s “Selling Online” guide, which contains a checklist for online retailers outlining the main obligations when selling online and where you can find out more about your obligations as an online retailer.