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By Alan Coleman on 28 Sep 2021

For this edition of OTM, we have a special report on the revenue growth of e-commerce websites in Ireland for the first six months of 2021. We’ll be comparing it to H1 2020 and you may remember this time to be that pivotal moment when the pandemic infiltrated our shores and panic buying took hold. 

Taking it a step further, we also looked at the performance of these websites a year prior, during H1 2019… So, what has changed and how are these websites faring now? 

Aside from the growth report, this post will also discuss the Return On Ad Spend on both Google ads and Facebook ads during the same period. 

Finally, exciting news from our Wolfgangers who joined the Global Content Marketing Awards! Let’s get started!


The Growth of e-Commerce Websites: H1 2021 v H1 2020

COVID-19 hit Ireland mid-March in 2020 and we were in lockdown within weeks. During this time, website revenue surged by 176% year on year as people adjusted to their new home and work realities. 

Toilet roll, yoga pants and bottles of wine were stockpiled and laptops, printers, and nostril hair trimmers flew from the warehouse as the public set themselves up to work from home.


Online shopping trends 

Now we’ve settled into our lockdown lives, how has online spend fared in 2021?

Across the data set, online revenue has increased at 33% YOY in 2021.

In the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019, 32% was actually the average annual growth. So we are back in that familiar territory albeit from a far higher base.

We have also found that 22% of retailers have actually gone backwards YOY in 2021. They tended to be those retailers selling electronic equipment and home office equipment which surged based on large one-off purchases in 2020 as people re-architected their lives.

The 78% of retailers still growing tend to be websites selling consumables such as wine and fashion.


So how does our H1 2021 compare to pre-pandemic 2019?

Average website revenue has increased a thunderous 263% over the 2 years. A website that was just shy of €1,000,000 in H1 2019 is now turning over in excess of €3,500,000. 

In making this leap in revenue e-Commerce websites have had to accelerate their digital maturity from “primary school” to “degree” level in a hurry.

The rewards have been extraordinary for those fastest to learn! To be more specific, 1 in 4 of the retailers in the dataset have more than quadrupled their pre-pandemic online revenue.


YoY Revenue Growth 


ROAS Report H1 2021 

We’ve analysed the average return on advertising spend for e-Commerce companies on both Google Ads and Facebook ads.


On Google Ads

For non-brand keywords we found the average return on ad spend for Google advertisers was 10:1 in H1 2021. Interestingly this is the same figure as H1 2020 despite 65% of advertisers seeing their CPC increase in H1 year on year. If CPCs are increasing and return on ad spend is holding steady we can infer that conversion rate is improving. 

There was a huge jump from the pre-pandemic average of 6:1. At Wolfgang, we believe this 66% jump is a result of lockdown as well as Google’s machine learning improving campaign performance.


On Facebook Ads

After analysing dynamic product ads, we found that the average Facebook Ads ROAS across our e-commerce advertisers is 7:1 in H1 2021. This is down 13% from the 2020 figure of 8:1.

This decrease in Facebook Ads ROAS is being driven by an increase in CPCs which are up 27% over the same time period, from 11 cent to 14 cent.


Wolfgang Awards News

Congrats to our client BodySlims! Our work together has just picked up a prestigious Global Content Marketing Award for “Highest Subscriber Growth”. 

Here at Wolfgang, we’re betting big that the ability to accumulate and manage first party data will be a critical success factor in the post cookie era of digital marketing. This is our first global award for our first party data strategy. We’re keen to fill our office with more. Read more about this integrated email & social case study that underpinned the winning entry!

Interested in progressing your career by working with Wolfgang? We’re planning on doubling headcount and we’ve a wide variety of roles open right now. Have a gander at our Jobs List page.


Wolfgang Bites 

Our Wolfgang Bites have been attracting larger viewing figures than the 6 o’clock news recently (ahem).

Check out Brendan’s Youtube video on why YouTube will replace TV advertising. If you want to learn more about the latest in the world of digital advertising and marketing, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel

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