Ireland has promised to deliver over $2 billion in incentive payments to online retailers, with a number of government measures aimed at promoting digital commerce.
The €2.2 billion, announced on Wednesday, will be divided into four streams, with the largest amount being earmarked for online retailers to “develop their products and services”.
The first of these will be a programme of incentives for businesses to set up their own online store, with an additional €500 million being earnt to online businesses to help them attract customers.
The second stream will be to give incentives to the start-ups and start-up entrepreneurs that build and develop online businesses, with €250 million earnt for these entrepreneurs to “increase the productivity of their business”.
This is the second of the three streams in the first phase of the e-covariation programme, which was announced by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DIEI) in January this year.
Online retailers will also be given an additional $1 million in support to help with online and mobile business operations, as well as €100 million to help businesses to develop online communities.
Online businesses are also expected to get an additional one-off €50 million in assistance for online marketing and advertising.
The third stream will support start–ups, with $50 million being given to these companies to help “develop online communities” to “expand their reach and influence”.
The Department of Enterprise Ireland said that it was also committed to creating a new ecosystem of e-retailers, and “providing support to entrepreneurs in their efforts to grow their businesses through the digital market”.
The e-payment platform that was created in June, e-pay, will offer a “secure, affordable and secure payment solution for ecommerce customers” and is expected to be launched within three months.
Online retail was not included in the announcement of the second phase of incentives, however, as it was not part of the programme.
In June, DIEI said that a total of €2 billion worth of incentives had been given to online companies in the year to March, with e-sales accounting for a third of that total.
Online sales are expected to rise by 8.7 per cent in the current financial year, which is up from 5.8 per cent a year earlier.
In its first fiscal year of the new financial year last year, ecommerce was worth €5.8 billion, with digital sales worth €2,935 million.
Online purchases made via smartphones and tablets have also grown by 10.1 per cent, while e-shopping by online retailers has grown by 21.7 percent.
Online e-buyer site ecommerce.com is expected in the second quarter of this year to account for one in three online purchases.