While the overall development of e-commerce is on a fairly even pace across countries, internal e-commerce markets do have their own specificities, and on a country-to-country level the demand for specific logistics may vary. In this article we will take a deeper look into the current Italian e-commerce market, and its specificities in regards to other European countries1.
Current Italian e-consumer dynamics
While the Italian e-commerce market has not grown as fast as in other countries such as the UK and Germany where the market is more mature, 2016 saw an 18% growth in online purchases, and the B2C e-commerce percentage on total retail sales has risen to just under 5%. There has been a larger growth in the online sales of services (32%) compared to products (8%), though the sales of products continues to rise. There has also been a significant growth in the use of PayPal and credit cards, and nowadays one-fourth of online transactions are made through smartphones or tablets. Web shoppers have grown to approximately 19 million in 2016, with 91% of these shoppers making at least one purchase per month across an array of industries.
The Italian market in comparison to other markets
There has been a significant growth rate in the Italian e-commerce market over the past few years, higher than many other European countries; however, the penetration on total retail sales is still quite low in comparison to other more mature markets such as the UK (19%), South Korea (17%) and the U.S. (15%). If e-commerce sales continue to climb in the same manner, it will not be long before Italy reaches France’s 10% penetration rate. Businesses are looking to upgrade their processes in order to account for this growth in online purchases, and this is where Generix Group is able to provide significant advice and innovative solutions, such as in our ongoing project with longstanding WMS client Il Gigante. With the market in continuous growth, the demand for e-logistics is only going to expand in order to keep up. Online and traditional retailers know that automated solutions are the way forward to manage the increasing demand on a national and global level.
A market in evolution
Italians are not only buying more online from Italian companies and in-country franchises, they are also helping build the international e-commerce trade.
While imports still remain higher than exports at this point in time, we have seen an increase of 20% (over 17 billion euros) of sales to both Italian and foreign consumers via Italian websites. Dotcoms and startups are growing at a very rapid rate: 28% vs 10% for traditional retailers, with top e-commerce operators
like Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Ikea, and Zalando taking 71% of the market share. It is now that logistics providers
should take advantage of the evolving Italian market in order to help growing businesses provide their customers with a more personalized and tailored approach to online shopping. In addition, over the next few years the market will expand into other less traditional areas, based on the growing interest in the sharing economy
, user experience, niche markets as well as areas of business co-creation, where several brands share ideas to create complex and unique products.
The Italian e-commerce market may be lagging behind other more mature European markets, but it is well on its way to catching up over the next few years. Consumers are creating a rapidly growing demand towards a multi-channel market, for both products and services, and retailers, especially in the online food industry, are looking towards innovative e-logistics to help them move into the future.
1Figures pulled from “The B2C E-Commerce Market in Italy”, research compiled by the Politecnico Milano