By Albert Costill of the Search Engine Journal

According to a joint study conducted by Amárach, the Marketing Institute and MCSquared, Irish marketers predicted 2014 to be better than the previous six years. Respondents reported a 30% growth in social media, as well as a 19% increase in content marketing. Over the next years, however, it’s expected that content marketing will continue to increase by another 34%. Despite 24% of all marketing budgets being dedicated to digital in Ireland, there are remains some good news and bad news for marketers.

Irish Digital Billions

The Irish Digital Billions and the Money Trail.

The good news? Consumers in Ireland actually spend more time and money online than the rest of Europe. In fact, 8 out of 10 Irish adults are using the internet on a daily basis. Even more astounding is that Irish customers are spending around  €4 billion online every year. That amount is expected to skyrocket to €21 billion by 2017. And, when you consider out of Ireland’s entire 4.6 million population, almost 3.5 million are registered online, you can easily see why Ireland is a potential goldmine.

Here’s the problem, however. 75% of these online sales are going to overseas vendors. Siobhan McGinty noted on Sage, “The reason for this is simple. Irish businesses do not have the web presence their global competitors have.” This is a problem for Irish retailers when “74% of consumers frequently research companies online” and “over 60% of consumers research online before making a purchase.”

McGinty goes on to state the Irish retailers who have found success have done so because “they have developed a personality, and more importantly, they are engaging with their customer base, through social media or a company blog for example.”

Spending for the first and second quarters of 2015 is set to break records according to http://www.tradingeconomics.comConsumer Spending in Ireland increased to 22443 EUR Million in the second quarter of 2015 from 22358 EUR Million in the first quarter of 2015.