Three Connected Ireland Report highlights the impact of bloggers and social media influencers on consumer spending, with one fifth of Irish people buying products they’ve seen recommended online

Monday 25th June: Three Ireland today launched the third edition of The Three Connected Ireland Report – a quarterly research report that examines the ways in which mobile technology is changing how we interact with each other, businesses and government, and how the Irish public wants mobile services to develop in the future.

Conducted by Amárach Research among 1,000 smartphone users throughout the Republic of Ireland, respondents were asked for their opinions in three key areas: The Connected Life, The Connected Business and The Connected Citizen.

Among the key findings are:

The Connected Life

  • We feel in control of our phones:  Over two thirds (67%) say smartphones help them communicate more with friends and family and 51% believe people are much safer these days because of mobile phones.  44% say their smartphone helps them to switch off from work and over half (55%) believe mobile phones support studying and learning new skills.
  • Devouring Data: One year after new EU rules allowed us to ‘roam like at home’, over a third (37%) are now using more mobile data while travelling in the EU. Three’s customers are embracing roaming in the EU even further and are now using a staggering 220% more data when travelling in the EU, compared with this time last year.  When it comes to data usage levels on home soil, 37% are using more mobile data than before.
  • Apps the Way I Like it: Despite attracting controversy in recent months, Facebook remains the most popular app – it’s checked first thing in the morning by over a fifth of us, while over a quarter (27%) use it last thing at night.  Other popular apps across the morning and before bed are email, Whatsapp and news apps.
  • Keeping kids safe online: Despite much public discussion recently around the age of digital consent and access to the internet, just four in ten of us believe parents are aware of their children’s use of the internet. While 68% say they’re aware of safeguarding measures to restrict children’s internet access, more than half (57%) don’t know where to access advice on these protective measures, with over a quarter (28%) turning to Google as an information source.

The Connected Business

  • The influence of social media influencers: When it comes to brand trust, 38% of those who follow influencers say they ignore posts which are marked as being paid promotions.  Overall, 28% follow bloggers or influencers online, with younger people even more likely to do so.  Of those who are fans, one in ten (9%) follows over 20 social media stars.  While 76% don’t trust celebrity or influencer endorsements, one fifth (19%) admit they have bought something as a result of a recommendation from a blogger.
  • Growing support for Irish brands online: Irish companies are gaining ground when it comes to e-commerce, with a 49% share of online sales at present – up from 42% in Q4 2017.
  • Banking on the move: Trust in mobile phone security for banking and bill splitting apps is high, at 71%.  55% value being able to use their smartphone to make cashless payments but the perceived value of new technologies such as bill splitting apps is lower, at just 45%.

The Connected Citizen:

  • Mobile Voting: 54% of smartphone users want to use mobiles to exercise their voting rights, with strong support for this across both general elections and referendums.
  • Traditional media is king: An earlier report suggested that, in general, we rely more on social media rather than traditional media as our primary source of news and current affairs.  However, when asked about how they decided to vote on the recent referendum on the 8th Amendment, traditional print and broadcast media was identified as the primary source of information for 50% of those surveyed.  Almost a third (29%) formed their opinion by discussing the matter with friends or family members, while one in four (25%) said they accessed websites for information on the key arguments.  Less than one in ten (9%) relied on public representatives to keep them up to date on the topic, with campaign leaflets and canvassers accounting for over a fifth at 21%.
  • Pent up demand for personalised alerts: 77% are open to getting text message or app alerts about local emergencies such as flooding or fallen trees.  Three quarters (75%) would value a service which issues traffic alerts about specific locations and 67% would like a service which allowed them to send a photo of suspicious people or cars in the local area to authorities.

Commenting on the results, Robert Finnegan, CEO, Three Ireland said: “It’s interesting to see that Ireland’s digital evolution is continuing at pace, with access to data on smartphones becoming an increasingly integral part of everyday life.  It helps us to connect with those around us in such a seamless way that we almost take it for granted now.  As Ireland’s leading mobile data network, we are investing heavily to ensure Three remains a leader in this space, for both business and leisure purposes. We’re investing in the network across Ireland to ensure that the country’s economy and society continues to reap the benefits of enhanced mobility and a better connected life.”

Part three of The Three Connected Ireland Report is available here: