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150,000 new jobs expected to be generated by 2020

Irish internet economy to top €21bn from current €8.4bn in same period

Ireland’s digital future has been showcased in new UPC research, with the Irish internet economy set to more than double in value by 2020.

The report, compiled by Amárach on behalf of UPC, shows that the Irish internet economy is currently worth €8.4bn. However, this figure is expected to reach €21.1bn by 2020.

According to the UPC research, consumer spending will contribute 60% of this total – some €13bn – with online sales a major contributor.

Due to the scale of the Irish digital economy, it is expected to drive future employment and the overall economy in the next decade.

“Ireland ranks highly among the world’s most digitally advanced economies,” said Magnus Ternsjo, CEO of UPC.

“The country performs well within the average standards in Europe for internet adoption and well beyond the average standards for higher internet speeds.”

The Irish internet economy will have an impact on recruitment, with 79,000 new jobs directly relating to the internet set to be created by 2020.

Impact on recruitment

In 2012 – at the time of the last UPC research – 49,000 people were directly employed in full-time roles relating to the internet economy.

A further 150,000 jobs could come directly and indirectly in the same time period, should Ireland’s digitalisation continue at its current pace – boosting future employment figures.

Amárach also questioned over 200 Irish businesses as part of the research, and found that 21% of sales are expected to be online in 2014.

Irish businesses are also ahead of the EU average when it comes to adopting social media, while 75% of Irish enterprises have their own websites.

Some 59% of businesses also suggested they intend to employ in the next 18-24 months, with a distinct focus on those with digital skills.

“Small businesses have a brighter future here if they capitalise on existing demand for their products and services by using the web to reach out to potential customers,” added Mr Ternsjo.

“Competitiveness is also key because over one third of Irish online consumers currently feel they get better quality, choice and value from retailers abroad.”