Everything is changing so quickly. As a business owner, it can feel impossible to keep across it - let alone get in front of it!
To help, along with market researchers Ipsos MORI, we’ve taken a snapshot of what adults in Ireland are thinking as pandemic restrictions continue to evolve. The insight will help you better position your business for the best recovery and growth.
We surveyed 1000 people online in Ireland between June 2 and June 9, 2021. The respondents, aged 16-65, were asked about the payments methods they’ve started using, or have used more, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and which of those they intend to continue as everyday life begins to settle down.
Our top line findings show that as a result of the pandemic:
· 94% of those who started or increased their use of contactless payment methods, plan to continue using this method after restrictions have been lifted in Ireland. With that rising to 95% when looking specifically at those aged 25-34 and 45-54.
· Digital wallets emerge as a trend to watch. While 22% of respondents started using, or increased their use of digital wallets, it was most keenly used by those aged under 45: Specifically 25% of those aged 16-24 and 25-34, and 26% for those aged 35-44.
· Interestingly, when it comes to continuing the use of digital wallets after restrictions have been lifted in Ireland, the keenest age groups change – to include those aged 55-65. Rising from a 90% average across ages, to 98% for those aged 35-44, and 96% for those aged 55-65.
Read on for a deeper dive into our findings and what they mean for your business.
The payments methods we started or increased as a result of Covid-19
Almost two thirds (64%) of adults said they started using contactless payment methods, or increased use of them, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
30% said they have taken up or increased their use of using Click and Collect services, which involves buying online and collecting in store. This is an example of omnicommerce - a hybrid of the online and in store consumer experience.
And the same percentage (30%) took up using or increased their use of buying something online, trying it at home, and then returning it - if necessary - via a courier service. (As opposed to returning unwanted goods in store, which was the fifth most popular response (21%))
“Interestingly, the most popular payment methods being used show consumers are embracing the full range of payments types available: from face-to-face in store to online and omnicommerce,” says Simon Tune, Commercial Director for Elavon Europe. “This in itself offers reassurance that whatever business environment you’re operating in, your customers are accepting change and progression.”
Differing use of payment methods also highlight significant variations across age groups.
While those who started to use contactless payments as a result of Covid-19, or have used this payment method more, averaged 64% across adults, amongst our two most senior age brackets it was even higher: 72% for those aged 45-54, and 71% for those aged 55-65.
Click and Collect was most keenly started, or used more, as a result of Covid-19 by those aged 25-54. Specifically 36% for those aged 25-34, 35% for those aged 35-44 and 35% for those aged 45-54. This compared to an average, across all respondents, of 30%.
Buying online, with courier service returns of any unwanted goods, was a payment method that rose from an average of 30%, across our respondents, to 36% for those aged 35-44.
Special attention should be directed at the increased use of digital wallets, especially for businesses targeting younger consumers. Digital wallets are payment apps such as Apple Pay or Paypal, to name just a couple, which can be accessed via smart devices (smartphones/smartwatches).
As an average, 22% of adults said they had started using digital wallets or used this payment method more as a result of Covid-19. But uptake was higher among those adults aged under 45. Specifically: 25% for those aged 16-14 and 25-34, and 26% for those aged 35-44.
Enduring payment methods
“Knowing which payment methods people have adopted tells us where your business needs to be right now to satisfy your customers’ needs. But knowing which they will continue after the pandemic tells us where you need to be heading, if you aren’t already there,” says Simon.
So once respondents had selected which payments methods they had started, or increased, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we asked ‘which, if any, they planned to continue to use after pandemic restrictions lifted in Ireland?’
The results – method by method - show the majority of people believe they’ll be sticking with their newly adopted (or deepened) payments habits once pandemic restrictions are lifted in Ireland.
Again, age differences for different methods are very apparent.
Of those who took up, or increased, the use of contactless payments, more than nine out of ten (94%) intend to keep using contactless payments in the future after any Covid-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted in Ireland.
But that already sizeable fraction and percentage increases to 95% for those aged 25-34 and 95% for those aged 45-54.
“This appetite to continue using contactless payments demonstrates the strength of confidence consumers now place in transactions of this kind in the face to face payments journey. That’s not solely down to social distancing and the hygiene advantages of contactless, but also likely to be its convenience,” says Simon.
“If you have not been supporting your customers by offering contactless payments, you can see now there’s a genuine demand being driven by consumers.”
Digital wallets, because of their nature, work in all consumer payment environments from face to face and unattended, to online and omnicommerce. They also emerge as a trend that’s had an impact on almost every age group. While those starting, or increasing, their use of this payment method as a result of the pandemic averaged 22% among respondents, it was more popular among those aged under 45. (25% for those aged 16-34 and 26% for those aged 35-44)
But when it comes to continuing the use of digital wallets after restrictions have lifted in Ireland, the keenest age groups are at the more senior end of the spectrum.
As an average across age groups, nine out of ten (90%) of those who started or increased their use of digital wallets as a result of Covid-19 intend to continue using them. But that average rises to 96% for those aged 55-65, and to 98% for those aged 35-44.
Paying with cash
While a little over one in ten (11%) of adults said they had started using, or increased their use of, cash because of the pandemic, more than four out of five (83%) of those that did so said they would continue using it after the pandemic restrictions are lifted. That average for continuing the use of cash varies wildly between age groups – dipping to 55% for those aged 16-24 and up to 95% for those aged 25-34.
“This shows the importance that notes and coins still play in our economy,” says Simon. “But while it whispers to the volumes of consumers who still rely on cash, it also should speak loudly to financial institutions and regulators about the vital need to make access to bank accounts easier and more inclusive. How many, who cannot access digital payments, are in that position because they’re unable or unwilling to use a bank account?”
We commissioned this same survey in other countries too, which may interest you:
We asked these same questions to 1129 adults in the UK and 1086 adults in Poland.
The research was conducted on i:omnibus, Ipsos MORI’s online Omnibus.
- Online interviews were carried out amongst adults aged 16-65 in Ireland.
- Our total respondents base includes 1000 adults who completed the survey 2-9 June 2021.
- The sample obtained is representative of this population with quotas on: age, gender, region and working status.
- The data has been weighted to the known population profile by age, gender, region, education, working status and social grade to be nationally representative and reflect the adult population of Ireland.
- Our sub-base for adults aged 16-65 in Ireland who started using each payment method, or used it more, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic are as following: Contactless n=665; Digital wallet = 231; Click & collect n=312 ; Buy online, try at home and return via courier service n=306; Buy online, try at home and return via store n=221; Cash payments n=110; Buy now, pay later n=26; Scan & Go n=124; Buying and paying on social media n=63.