SIRO Chief Commercial Officer Ronan Whelan: “Despite physical business closures over the past year, Irish consumers have looked to support local, Irish businesses. There is a huge opportunity for Irish businesses, post-pandemic, to continue to tap into the COVID-19 groundswell of consumer goodwill and loyalty toward Irish businesses. However, it shouldn’t be taken for granted, with businesses still needing to improve in areas such as delivery charges and customer services”.
A consumer survey undertaken by fibre broadband wholesaler, SIRO, has found high levels of support for Buying Irish amongst Irish consumers during COVID-19. The research found that half of those surveyed indicated that they bought more Irish goods and services during the pandemic than previously and that their preference for Irish-first will continue post-COVID-19.
Key findings from the research include:
Importance of Buying Irish: 89% of people cite Buying Irish as being important to them, of those 37% believe it to be very important and 52% somewhat important. 11% stated they did not see it as important.
Buying Irish during the pandemic: 50% of those surveyed responded that they are buying more Irish goods and services during the pandemic than they were prior to COVID-19. 41% stated the extent to which they Buy Irish is unchanged, with 7% buying less and 2% not sure.
Buying Irish post-COVID-19: Of those who are buying more Irish goods and services during the pandemic, 79% say they will continue to prioritise Buying Irish after the pandemic has ended; with 19% not sure and 2% saying they will buy less.
Support for Buying Irish amongst age groups and genders: Those 18-30 years of age are significantly more likely to see Buying Irish as ‘very important’ relative to older age groups. Equally of those surveyed, women were more likely to Buy Irish than men. Although no notable regional differences emerged.
Reasons for Choosing Irish: The top three reasons are Buying Irish goods and services cited by respondents were supporting Irish and local businesses at 82%, the quality of goods and services at 63% and avoiding import taxes and charges at 49%.
Most frustrating aspects of Buying Irish: The most common issues amongst respondents were delivery charges at 66% and customer services issues at 38%.
Finally, when asked about choosing a broadband provider 34% surveyed had switched provider in the past year, with a desire for higher speeds and better value being the most cited reasons.
Commenting on the survey results, SIRO Chief Commercial Officer Ronan Whelan noted: “What comes through so clearly in our research is that, despite physical business closures over the past year, Irish consumers in large numbers have looked to support local, Irish businesses, such as through online or click and collect services. This support for local and Irish has been pivotal in keeping many businesses afloat during the darkest days of COVID-19.
“As Ireland now looks to recover and rebuild keeping this support engaged will be crucial. There is a huge opportunity for businesses to continue to tap into the COVID-19 groundswell of consumer goodwill and loyalty toward Irish businesses, once the pandemic has passed.
“However, customer loyalty is earned and shouldn’t be taken for granted, with businesses still needing to continuously innovate and improve in areas such as delivery charges and customer services.
“Today, SIRO is excited to announce that we are joining Guaranteed Irish. It’s a natural fit for SIRO. As an Irish company with a footprint across Ireland and through our work in connecting homes and business to high quality fibre broadband, like Guaranteed Irish, we have a shared objective of empowering Irish businesses to prosper and grow”.
Guaranteed Irish CEO Bríd O’Connell stated: “I am delighted to welcome SIRO on board. As Ireland’s leading fibre optic broadband network, SIRO embraces our core values of building sustainable communities through enterprise, backing local jobs, and supporting homegrown Irish businesses to recover and grow.
These values are showcased through SIRO’s commitment to connecting homes and businesses to high quality fibre broadband, in turn benefiting our local economy and supporting Irish jobs particularly in communities throughout the country.”