What we learned from the Italy 2021 Report

It needn’t be said that the Italian ecommerce market has faced a year of hardship, change and new challenges. From the coronavirus crisis, through to post-Brexit panic – retailers have had to think on their feet and come up with innovative ideas in order to survive. 

To find out more about the Italian ecommerce landscape, including key statistics, retailer research and consumer insights, download the RetailX Italy 2021: Ecommerce Country Report!

Want to try before you buy? Carry on reading for a few key takeaways from the full report

  1. Electronic payments are booming as Italy’s love affair with cash fades 

Despite Italy’s long lasting love affair with cash payments, we have recently seen a boom in consumers making digital payments. This spike was particularly prominent during lockdown when people were forced to shop online (surprise, surprise). In fact, nearly eight in 10 Italians went online to make purchases as retailers were forced to shutter their doors due to Covid-19, and about a third also increased their use of ecommerce last year. 

As demonstrated in the chart above, digital and mobile payments were the most popular amongst Italian e-shoppers in 2020, whereas cash on delivery was only chosen by 5%. Credit cards came in at second place (19%), followed closely by pre-paid cards (12%) showing a variation in preference. However, Italy still has a long way to go before they catch up with the level of cashless payments seen in other parts of Europe and countries like the USA. 

2. Italian products are still being sold far and wide 

Although the pandemic had the potential to wreak havoc on Italy’s cross-border trade, most ecommerce companies came out on top…bravo! 

Of the 61% Italian ecommerce companies that sell their products abroad (an increase of 5% on last year), 50% saw an increase in sales. Only 10% saw a decrease in sales, while 40% saw stabilisation. 

Whereabouts do these companies sell? 

Of those companies who do sell overseas, the largest percentage is 19% in France, 18% in Spain and 17% in Germany, followed by the UK at 13% and finally Switzerland and Northern Europe at 10%. 

3. Facebook dominates in every sector and smartphone is primo

If you’re looking to sell in Italy, make sure your marketing team targets Facebook! As shown by our research, it is the platform that dominates the ‘traditional’ social media networks in terms of ecommerce (53%). Instagram is also among one of the most popular (40%) for its visual appeal and focus on style. 

Nonetheless, it is important to be cautious that the slow Italian take-up of online shopping does mean there’s little existing retail infrastructure, and its associated barriers and ingrained habits. 

In terms of popular devices for shopping online, smartphones take the crown (68%), followed by laptop (38%) and desktop PC (37%). 

To find out more about what Italian shoppers are after, including delivery options, post-pandemic preferences and everything in between – download the full report here!


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