New research from PayPal, conducted by Ipsos and involving 2,000 consumers in Ireland, reveals that cashless will be crucial as Irish consumers look to support local businesses following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The survey revealed that 81% of Irish consumers believe supporting the local economy is key to emerging from the current crisis and 66% of Irish consumers plan to buy more local or regional products in the future.
However, while the trend looks set to be shopping locally and in-person for the foreseeable future, with over half (57%) of respondents preferring face-to-face services, cash appears to have fallen out of favour for the majority of people.
A cashless approach is important for almost two thirds (65%) of Irish shoppers. In fact, 39% do not want to use cash going forward – that translates to more than 1.9 million people.
Some 67% of shoppers revealed they are open to trying new contactless methods in shops, with 61% preferring to avoid touching a card reader pad when making purchases.
The influence of community spirit on purchasing behaviours
Despite the increasing popularity of online international shopping in Ireland in recent years, the study showed that people have chosen to support local shops and smaller businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Smaller businesses and stores were found to be the most popular option for consumers throughout the lockdown, with almost two thirds (62%) choosing them in order to support their local and the national economy. Other popular reasons cited for doing so were that consumers had made purchases in these shops previously (38%) and it was faster to get the product (29%).
Three quarters (75%) of people are more conscious of the importance of community and working together, with older respondents (81%) more mindful of this than younger ones (69%).
Clearly, the importance of community has been heightened recently and is having an impact on behaviours with almost one in six people in Ireland doing grocery shopping for relatives or neighbours during the Covid-19 crisis. Furthermore, one in 20 people have taken to making or selling products, such as face masks, due to the emergence of Covid-19.
Annette Hickey, Vice-President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Customer Services, PayPal, said: “The Covid-19 lockdown impacted everyone and many uncertainties still remain, but there is a silver lining in that communities are coming together in Ireland and supporting each other – not just people helping others but also spending with local businesses and retailers.
“This will continue to be vital as we move forward and take steps towards economic recovery, but change is needed. As our research shows, consumers want to invest in the regions where they live but there is a demand for new ways of shopping and paying, as can be seen with the large proportion of people who don’t want to use cash or touch a card reader.
“With more than 1.35 million customers in Ireland, we know how important it is for people to be able to manage, move and spend their money how they want and via the methods they choose. So, as well as implementing measures to help facilitate socially distanced shopping, businesses need to enable people to purchase goods in different ways in-store or, alternatively, buy online.
“In doing so, together we can overcome the obstacles posed by the pandemic and create a brighter future, a safer experience and a stronger Ireland.”