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?