Speaking in the Dáil today during Jobs’s Questions Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín criticised the Minister for what he described as a mismatch between the significantly increased level of online spending and Governments meagre e-commerce strategy for indigenous retailers.
The Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson said:
“Retail is one of the forgotten sectors of the economy, although it has probably suffered the most outside of construction in recent years. It has lost approximately 50,000 jobs and representative organisations tell us at least 30,000 more are clinging on to their jobs by their fingertips.
“Adding to the concern for the retail sector is the radical reorientation of people's spending patterns from the shop to online purchasing with a massive 75% of this business is going abroad.
“People are spending €8.5 million every day online; while 43% of the population purchase goods on the internet.
“Figures provided today by the Department show online spending has doubled from €2.9bn in 2012 to €6bn and is expected to reach €21bn by 2017, and the reality is 75% of these sales are going outside of the state.
“Minister of State Seán Sherlock today mentioned the roll-out of a trading online voucher scheme, but the numbers are not high enough, and it is clear from the Minister’s comments that the Government’s e-commerce commitments in the national digital strategy are not fit for purpose.
“It is argued that every 1% of this lost revenue we win back boosts the local economy by approximately €40 million.
“Each time we debate online spending and e-commerce the Jobs Minister states he is taking action but clearly there is a mismatch between the scale of the Government's response and the size of the problem.”