An island strategically situated in the North Atlantic Ocean about 304 miles (490 kilometers) from one of its key trade partners Britain,
The Republic of Ireland is an attractive market for selling goods partly because Ireland is the world’s third-richest country in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Ireland is also a member state of the European Union, one of international trade’s most powerful economic forces.
Nicknamed The Emerald Island, Ireland is home to 5 million people compared to over 67 million residents in the United Kingdom.
The 100 most valuable consumer products imported into Ireland in 2020 generated a subtotal US$36.7 billion worth of international spending. That consumer-specific dollar amount represents 37.3% of the overall value of all goods imported into Ireland. A European Union member state, Ireland’s overall spending on imported products totaled $98.4 billion.
Among Ireland’s most valuable consumer products imported in 2020 were: medications; computers; cars; phones including smartphones; computers; trucks; and medications.
The total dollar amount for Ireland’s top 100 imported consumer products increased by 3% from 2019 to 2020. The North Atlantic island’s top 100 consumer metric contrasts with the -3% decline for all of Ireland’s imported goods for the year.
Irish demand for imported consumer products far exceeded the global average, which was a drop of -8.2% from 2019 to 2020 for all importing countries around the world.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Ireland, 59 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas 41 declined.
Changes in Irish consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
Irish Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases Ireland’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|2||Computers, optical readers||$3,819,092,000||-5||SP|
|4||Computer parts, accessories||$1,881,940,000||+17.6%||SP|
|6||Processed petroleum oils||$1,725,689,000||-49.8%||CP|
|7||Medication mixes not in dosage||$1,174,666,000||-0.5%||CP|
|10||Unrecorded sound media||$596,214,000||+31.7%||SP|
|11||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$583,114,000||+0||CP|
|14||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$478,450,000||+1||CP|
|15||Miscellaneous plastic items||$473,037,000||+6.6%||CP|
|16||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$409,131,000||-1.3%||CP|
|17||Felt, other non-woven garments||$401,749,000||+853||SP|
|20||Miscellaneous textile items||$364,487,000||+703.3%||SP|
|24||Other meats (preserved/prepared)||$302,838,000||-25.2%||CP|
|28||Waters with added sugar||$284,091,000||-2.9%||CP|
|29||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$281,149,000||+1.7%||SP|
|30||Electrical converters/power units||$270,971,000||+16.8%||SP|
|32||Other organic cleaning preparations||$265,110,000||+9.9%||CP|
|33||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$261,180,000||-25||SP|
|35||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$252,627,000||-0.8%||SP|
|36||Other food preparations||$247,671,000||+0.7%||CP|
|37||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$234,642,000||+6.2%||SY|
|39||Rubber tires (new)||$224,747,000||-1.9%||SP|
|40||Malt extract, food preparations||$217,619,000||+7.6%||CP|
|42||Tissues, napkins, toilet paper||$214,952,000||+6.19%||CP|
|45||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$205,041,000||-4.2%||SP|
|46||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$201,523,000||-6.6%||SP|
|51||Fruit and vegetable juices||$180,916,000||+4.1%||CP|
|52||Sauces, condiments, seasoning||$178,664,000||+2.7%||CP|
|55||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$165,729,000||+3.6%||SP|
|57||Prepared cereal foods||$154,147,000||+6.4%||CP|
|58||Video console games||$153,224,000||+38||SP|
|59||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$150,424,000||-13.8%||SP|
|60||Cases, handbags, wallets||$146,586,000||-18.3%||SP|
|61||Printed books, brochures||$143,679,000||+21.3%||SP|
|63||Alcohol (spirits, liqueurs)||$137,099,000||-2.2%||CP|
|64||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$133,566,000||-19||SP|
|66||Electric storage batteries||$132,327,000||+68.3%||SY|
|67||Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)||$132,183,000||+181.1%||SP|
|69||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$128,703,000||+13||SP|
|72||Electric generating sets, converters||$126,094,000||+246.9%||SY|
|73||Prepared vegetables (frozen)||$121,824,000||-4||CP|
|74||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$121,448,000||+10.5%||SY|
|75||Glass bottles, other containers||$119,004,000||+12||SP|
|77||Vulcanized rubber items||$113,144,000||+20.4%||SP|
|78||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$112,827,000||+1.7%||SP|
|79||Other fresh/chilled vegetables||$111,124,000||+9.2%||CP|
|80||Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)||$110,537,000||-7||CP|
|83||Prepared vegetables (non-frozen)||$109,465,000||+20.2%||CP|
|84||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$107,069,000||+19.7%||CP|
|87||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$103,218,000||+11.2%||CP|
|88||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$101,593,000||+16.5%||SP|
|89||Other pharmaceutical preparations||$101,498,000||+43.2%||SP|
|90||Screws, bolts, washers, pins||$99,857,000||-5||SP|
|91||Fresh or chilled beef||$99,707,000||+1.6%||CP|
|93||Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates||$95,562,000||+6.8%||CP|
|94||Plastic wares (table, kitchen)||$93,920,000||+10.3%||CP|
|97||Iron/steel tables, household items||$89,875,000||+16.2%||SP|
|99||Special hand/machine tools||$86,400,000||-17.2%||SY|
|100||Hot-rolled iron/steel items||$85,727,000||-10||SP|
Ireland’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by imported computers including optical readers, cars, computer parts or accessories, phones including smartphone, and trucks. Shopping products represent 46 of the top 100 Irish imported consumer goods.
Close behind in second place via 41 items are convenience products (CP). Examples include drugs and medicines, chocolate, wine, cheese and beer.
There were 13 speciality products (SY) ranking among the top 100. Major speciality products imported into Ireland include jewelry, beauty makeup or skincare products, nitrogenous fertilizers and liquid pumps.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications, sugar and corn are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 59 of Ireland’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 41 are classified as non-durable.
Using the provided table, you can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Ireland that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Felt, other non-woven garments: Up 853% ($401.7 million)
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 703.3% ($364.5 million)
- Electric generating sets, converters: Up 246.9% ($126.1 million)
- Jewelry: Up 191.8% ($510 million)
- Wrist/pocket watches (with regular cases): Up 181.1% ($132.2 million)
- Air conditioners: Up 76% ($132.5 million)
- Electric storage batteries: Up 68.3% ($132.3 million)
- Miscellaneous pharmaceutical preparations: Up 43.2% ($101.5 million)
- Video console games, table games: Up 38% ($153.2 million)
- Unrecorded sound media: Up 31.7% ($596.2 million)
All the above top 10 gainers qualify as durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Six of those durable items with accelerating sales to importers in Ireland are shopping products including felt and other non-woven garments, miscellaneous textile items and video console games.
The 4 fast-growing speciality items are electric generating sets or converters, jewelry, brand-name air conditioners and electric storage batteries.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Spending by import buyers in Ireland on the following 10 items decreased in value at the severest rates from 2019 to 2020.
- Processed petroleum oils: Down -49.8% ($1.7 billion)
- Antibiotics: Down -29.2% ($92.2 million)
- Preserved or prepared miscellaneous meat: Down -25.2% ($302.8 million)
- Unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing: Down -25% ($261.2 million)
- Poultry meat: Down -22.4% ($231.4 million)
- Unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits: Down -19% ($133.6 million)
- Cases, handbags, wallets: Down -18.3% ($146.6 million)
- Beauty, makeup and skin care products: Down -17.9% ($292.1 million)
- Special hand/machine (combo) tools: Down -17.2% ($86.4 million)
- Cars: Down -14.7% ($2.2 billion)
Four categories among Irish top 10 severest decliners are non-durable convenience products consumed one time. Those imports are processed petroleum oils, antibiotics, preserved or prepared miscellaneous meat as well as poultry meat.
Four among the remaining major import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for consumers to make buying decisions. Purchases under the shopping products category are more likely to be deferred than convenience products. Examples of these shopping goods range from unknitted and non-crocheted clothing and cars to cases, handbags and wallets.
The 2 declining speciality product categories are beauty, makeup and skin care, and special hand/machine (combo) tools.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target demand for 5 of Ireland’s top consumer import products.
Ireland’s biggest imported consumer product by value is medications. The other 4 leading consumer goods imported into Ireland are computers, cars, computer parts or accessories, and phones including smartphones.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for imported Irish:
Medications: United Kingdom (22.7% of total), United States (21.5%), Germany (17.8%), Belgium (6.1%), Netherlands (5.1%), France (3.9%), Switzerland (3%), Denmark (2.9%), Italy (2.7%), and Canada (2.6%).
Computers: China (17.8% of total), Germany (15.8%), United Kingdom (15.1%), Czech Republic (10%), United States (7.2%), Poland (6.2%), Netherlands (4.6%), Thailand (4.4%), Hungary (4.2%), and Mexico (2.8%).
Cars: Germany (31.4% of total), United Kingdom (17.7%), France (11.5%), South Korea (11.4%), Czech Republic (7.1%), Japan (6%), Spain (5%), Turkey (4%), United States (1.8%), and Romania (1.3%).
Computer parts or accessories: China (40.9% of total), United States (19.8%), South Korea (13.3%), United Kingdom (3.6%), Taiwan (3.5%), Thailand (3%), Netherlands (2%), Philippines (1.9%), Germany (1.1%), and Vietnam (0.9%).
Phones including smartphones: China (40.1% of total), United Kingdom (15.8%), United States (12.5%), Taiwan (5.3%), Netherlands (5.1%), Hong Kong (2.5%), Sweden (2.4%), Malaysia (2.2%), Thailand (also 2.2%), and Vietnam (2.1%).
More great research: Ireland’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, UK’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Australia’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, US Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Germany’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, 100 Best Consumer Goods for Selling to Importers in Russia
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Ireland Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.
Trading Economics, Ireland Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, Ireland’s Top 10 Imports.