“The latest edition of the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) ranks Ireland number one in Europe for the integration of digital technologies by enterprises by a significant margin, ahead of Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden. It also positions Ireland as the leader for buying and selling online, with 29% of our enterprises active on online marketplaces.
“On the surface, it looks like Ireland has all the necessary ingredients for a healthy digital economy. On closer inspection, however, using the DESI as a metric for Ireland’s e-commerce health, especially for SMEs, is misleading. The DESI classifies ‘small enterprises’ as businesses that have between 10 and 49 employees; it excludes ‘micro-enterprises’, or businesses that employ fewer than ten people. Micro-enterprises make up more than 92% of the Irish economy.*
“IE Domain Registry’s SME Digital Health Index, which collates the digital experiences of 1,000 Irish SMEs and micro-businesses, paints a more accurate picture. The most recent survey (2019) shows that less than a third (32%) of SMEs with a website have the ability to receive sales orders through it; furthermore, only 32% can fully process sales transactions through their website.
“E-commerce is worth €12bn to the Irish economy, so this is a glaring missed opportunity for Irish SMEs without the digital tools needed to reap the value of e-commerce for their business. However, in this new Covid-19 world, there is evidence that savvy Irish SMEs are rapidly going online – there were 7,000 new domain registrations in May 2019, the highest on record, indicating that businesses view their website as an essential sales platform .”