| 14.6°C Belfast

Online alcohol sales soar during lockdown as NI consumers buy more items from home than UK counterparts


Popular: More and more people are shopping online

Popular: More and more people are shopping online

Popular: More and more people are shopping online

Online sales of alcohol in Northern Ireland soared during lockdown - accounting for almost a fifth of all purchases.

Fashion and DIY equipment were also popular, as consumers here made more online orders per capita than any of their UK counterparts.

A YouGov survey on shopping behaviours found that rather than slowing down, the e-commerce boom looks set to maintain its course.

The new research suggested that regionally a huge 88% of Northern Irish consumers had between one and three orders delivered each week compared to 79% of Welsh, 74% of Scottish and 69% of English shoppers.

Most popular of all was clothing (25%) followed by alcohol (17%), DIY equipment (8%), and beauty and fragrances (7%), while there was also an interest in accessories (4%), electrical equipment (2%) and footwear (2%).

Rory O'Connor, CEO and founder of Scurri, the company behind the survey, said that, relatively speaking, there were more packages delivered in Northern Ireland than anywhere else in the UK.

"What's extremely interesting is that despite shops being reopened, consumers in Northern Ireland and across the UK are still shopping so much online," he said. "It's real proof that the e-commerce boom, accelerated by the pandemic, is here to stay."

Mr O'Connor said he couldn't explain the popularity of online shopping locally.

"While the road ahead for retail remains unclear, what these stats do make clear is that online shopping is the new norm," he said.

"Why Northern Ireland specifically, we are unsure; however wherever people were based during lockdown, online shopping really provided a safe space for people - especially older generations - and also a bit of normality."

Mr O'Connor added: "The survey for us painted a clear picture of a cautious consumer who feels more comfortable shopping from the comforts of their own home."

Northern Irish consumers indicated they don't see a return to pre-virus normality happening any time soon, with 26% of those surveyed admitting they still feel unsafe shopping in stores due to the virus.

In terms of in-store shopping, 27% of consumers here indicated they are doing less post-lockdown than before the pandemic compared to 40% of the Welsh, who are most worried about in-store shopping, followed by people in Scotland (38%).

According to the research, the items most purchased online in Scotland during lockdown included clothes (22%), followed by alcoholic beverages (10%) and health, beauty and fragrances (9%).

In England, it was clothing (16%), followed by home and garden (11%) as well as health, beauty and fragrances, DIY and alcoholic beverages (8%).

Meanwhile, in Wales the most purchased items included home and garden items (17%), followed by alcohol (16%) as well as health, beauty and fragrances (15%).

The survey of more than 2,000 adults revealed the items purchased most during lockdown, the number of deliveries people made during and after lockdown, and several aspects of consumers' outlook for the months ahead.

When asked about the kinds of pandemic safety measures they have tried or been exposed to, 37% of UK shoppers said they had tried contactless delivery.

Belfast Telegraph