Only 66% of Irish businesses had any kind of website in 2009, compared with 40% in 2000. Of those 66%, only 21% had e-commerce functionality on their site, a level that has grown by a marginal 3% since 2000.
66% seems faily high. It would be interesting to take a look at what passes for a "website" in 2009 and what qualifies as "e-commerce functionality".
It is a government Central Statistics Office figure and not knowing its methodology, I don't trust it. I think that what they did was survey a number of companies asking them whether they had a website and if it was used for e-commerce.
In October I was working on an Irish search engine idea and did a crawl of Irish websites. The number of pages spidered was around 1.8 million and it wasn't a deep crawl. The number of sites was around 147K but this would reduce to about 120K active and unique. The ease with which e-commerce elements can be added means that it is now simpler to add e-commerce functionality to a website. The biggest difference between 2000 and 2010 is the crucial elements of a payments system. The basic approach is to use Paypal and then a proper credit card processor like Realex or Worldpay. It might have been better had the CSO asked Realex or Worldpay (two of the main payments processors in Ireland) for the numbers of Irish businesses using their services online.
This is the breakdown of .ie websites for October 2010. The percentages are the numbers expressed as a percentage of websites in the survey and of the number of domains in the survey.
There is more of an incentive to develop .ie ccTLD domains because of their cost and they would have a very high business ownership as opposed to individual ownership. This is due mainly to the registrant having to provide evidence of entitlement to a domain name. Typically this is a registered business name certificate, company name/number or trademark. There is a discretionary category that allows entitlement to be argued differently.
Getting back to the CSO figure, these surveys, if they only surveyed companies rather than sole traders (individual business people) and SMEs are going to be flawed they will have missed the main users of e-commerce - the Mom and Pop element. The costs of building a big business e-commerce website are high but these are the players selling or trading limited sets of merchandise and using sites running on CMS like Joomla and Wordpress, or Ebay as their shopfronts.