Capitalising on E-commerce Growth in Italy

E-commerce in Italy has been going from strength to strength in recent years. The country faces a lot of challenges: high unemployment, a shaky economy and rumors of corruption at various levels have all impacted Italy’s finances negatively. Don’t be tempted to discount Italy, however. As the third largest economy in Europe, it’s not a market you can afford to ignore if you’re looking to capitalize on e-commerce in Europe. 


By the end of 2018, the business-to-consumer element of Italy’s e-commerce sector was worth an estimated €23.1 billion. With major companies like supermarket chains Carrefour and Supermercato24 throwing their hats into the e-commerce ring, that number is set to become significantly higher as 2019 progresses. 


One of the reasons that e-commerce has taken off dramatically in Italy is the Italian fondness for home deliveries. A solid four out of five Italians prefer to get their goods delivered rather than heading to a brick and mortar store, whether the purchase in question is electronics or groceries. For those who opt for deliveries but prefer an address other than their home, there are plenty of alternatives. A sizeable percentage have their goods delivered to their place of work — a convenient option for those who don’t want to wait in for home delivery. Other popular choices are picking up packages from the local post office or having deliveries sent to a parcel pick-up point.

Consumer considerations

For any business to capitalize on Italian e-commerce, it’s important to know what consumers want. For customers in this particular market, there are a number of factors involved in choosing an e-commerce service. Chief among these is cost; customers who were polled on the subject rated the cost of delivery as the most important factor. Free delivery was uppermost in the minds of those questioned, with 92 percent stating that this was the first thing they looked at when deciding to buy. Almost as many stated that free return was a major selling point.

Because cost is such a significant consideration, it’s no surprise that customers demand transparency in pricing. It’s important to have a clear, easy-to-follow pricing structure for deliveries, with no hidden costs or extra charges. Both the price of the goods themselves and the cost of delivery feature in consumers’ buying decisions.

Another highly significant factor was speed, with customers giving a lot of attention to the rapidity with which their goods could be delivered. The faster a supplier can get the goods to the customer, the bigger their advantage. 

Older customers

Italy’s demographic is greying, with a steadily declining birthrate. While this can negatively impact some types of commerce, a senior demographic can often boost the e-commerce sector. Older consumers may no longer rely on family members to pick up groceries and other purchases for them; e-commerce can help fill this gap, allowing the older consumer to arrange home deliveries. Appealing to the older customer on a private pension may be the way forward for some e-commerce providers.

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