Ireland’s Top Bricks and Clicks Brands

So who are the Irish brands that have transferred their business processes to the web and been successful at it? Those of us who work in traditional organisations will be interested in this and in how others have achieved that success.

I’ve undertaken some analysis of Irish websites here before  and this time, based on feedback, I have combined insights from both Google AdPlanner and Alexa. Neither in my mind are completely accurate, so take the following as trends or indications of relative position rather than absolute numbers.

Here are the Irish brands that have a traditional bricks and mortar business and have developed a significant online presence. They are ranked according to worldwide unique visitors in December based on data available from Google AdPlanner.

Top 20 Irish Bricks and Clicks, December 2009. Source: Google Adplanner

Ryanair.com, love it or loathe it, is by far the largest website in this analysis with nearly six times more traffic than the nearest rival RTE.ie.

There are some clear trends here as some sectors have very much embraced the web and been embraced by online customers. Travel is the clear winner of course thanks to Ryanair and to a lesser extent AerLingus.com. Media comes in next with RTE.ie, IrishTimes.com and Independent.ie completing the top five. The other sectors of note are the banking sectors, primarily as a result of their self-service offerings, and the mobile sectors, thanks to Ireland’s fascination with mobile devices.

Of particular interest to me at the moment are those bricks and mortar consumer retail organisations that have developed successful e-commerce strategies. Most Irish consumer retail brands have an online presence, but which of these are the leaders online. Which bricks and mortar brands have made significant inroads in the e-commerce arena. This is a list of those brands, again ordered primarily based on data from Google:

Top 20 Irish "Bricks and Clicks" Retail Brands, December 2009, Source: Google AdPlanner

Leaving aside the travel and mobile sectors there are some other interesting findings here.

I was actually a little surprised to see PaddyPower.com and BoyleSports.com rank so highly. By going international and shifting beyond the world of gambling to “entertainment”, Paddy Power have carved out a really successful online business – two-thirds of Paddy Power group profits in the first half of 2009 came from their online activities.

AAIreland.ie, an online insurance broker, punches above its market share thanks to their very useful RoadWatch and RoutePlanner services, and shows how content strategies online can still deliver. That being said, the online insurance sector is dominant with three insurance agencies making it to the top 20.

Buy4Now.ie, while not in itself a bricks and mortar business, is the platform for a dozen or so Irish business to compete online. These include Arnotts, Elverys, DID Electric and Superquinn. Many of these don’t have their own domain, so it is hard to tell what the size of their individual successes might be.

There is some seasonality showing in the results, given that they relate to last December. Toys.ie, the website of Smyths Toys, probably only features in the top 10 once per year. However by combining a “check store availability, reserve and collect” service with their online store they have succeeded where their competitors have not.

Overall however the e-commerce sector to me seems quite underdeveloped. The travel sector represents a notable success and mobile is also strong. After that the numbers start to get small rather quickly. For me, not competing in international markets is probably the dominant weakness of the sector. Given the ease of access to new markets that the Internet makes possible, is it vision we are lacking in our established brands that prevents more for stretching beyond our own shores?

6 thoughts on “Ireland’s Top Bricks and Clicks Brands

  1. I’ve done something similar with the Ad Planner data, but filtered to show Irish usage only. It might be of some use here – http://tables.googlelabs.com/DataSource?dsrcid=119313

    What’s interesting is that only 270k UV for Ryanair originates from Ireland, same as Aer Lingus, but Ryanair obviously hammers it on a global market.

    I agree that the e-commerce sector is underdeveloped in Ireland, where websites are seen as additions or extentions to the existing business. There are very few web only transactional websites.

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  2. Thanks for the link Barry. I had also started by just looking at the Irish visits, but that didn’t recognise the (unfortunately) small number of Irish brands that are seeing their biggest success outside Ireland.

    You hit the nail on the head when you suggest that most see the web as extensions of existing business models. The web is a new type of market, that requires new business models. Ryanair and Paddy Power are particularly good examples of organisations that get that.

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  3. Hi, I know this is a very basic question to you gurus. We are trying to get a definition of UV. We have a sports management software platform and it handles a lot of web traffic in Clubs- GAA, Rugby, Basketball, Ladies Gaelic in Ireland. We control fixtures, results and league tables pages on over 45 sports units websites in Ireland. We know that one of our Sports Codes has 1.6ml page views per month but we are trying to figure out how UV’s and we keep getting a variety of definitions. Is there a simple metric we can work on? thanks for the help. Love the blog.

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  4. Hi Vivienne. Unique visitors is a measure of the number of individual people that visited your site in a given period. Many of these individuals will visit more than once in a period, so the number of visits will always be greater than the number of unique visitors.

    I sometimes think of it in the same way as a newspaper salesman might. I might sell 100 newspapers in a week but this is spread over 60 individual customers. I have some regulars who buy more than once, but the majority just buy once per week.

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  5. HI Brendan, Thanks for the very prompt reply. I am making sure I got this right. If I was looking at Unique Visitors (UV) for a period of a month. Over the month, we would only count a visitor once even though they may visit the site a number of times in this month. Have I got this right. Cheers.

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  6. Hi, interesting read! Anyone know where I could get stats on Ireland’s Top Corporate brands on facebook?

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