Italy flag Italy: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Italy


Internet access
Italy is the third largest economy and the third most populated country in the EU. It is estimated that in 2017 Italy had a population of 49.9 million online users who were aged 15 and older. The estimated number of smartphone users in Italy in 2017 reached 39.3 million, with a penetration rate of 65.8% (Newzoo's 2017 Global Mobile Market Report). The most popular web search engines in Italy are, Bing and Yahoo, with Google dominating the scene with a market share of almost 93.5%.
E-commerce market
The Italian e-commerce market turnover grew by 17% to in 2017, reaching EUR 23.6 billion. Overall, the Italian e-commerce market is growing steadily: the number of e-shoppers reached 22 million in 2017, up 10% when compared to the previous year. Historically, most of the e-commerce turnover in Italy was generated by services. Nevertheless in 2017 products sales (EUR 12.2 billion, +28%) overtook those of services (+7%) for the first time. The e-commerce industry is estimated to represent 5.7% of the total Italian retail industry. When ranked by unique visitors per month, Zalando is the biggest B2C e-commerce site in Italy, followed by Amazon, Euronics, IBS and BonPrix. Another very popular e-commerce site is Yoox. Tourism and transport are the most popular e-commerce categories in Italy, with a turnover of EUR 9.2 billion and a 7% growth rate in 2017. Other major e-commerce sectors include consumer electronics (with a growth of 28%) and clothing (+28% growth). New sectors are emerging, including food & grocery (+43%) and furniture & home living (+31%). In 2017, two-thirds of online purchases was completed using a desktop or laptop, while one-third of purchases was made via mobile or tablet: the use of smartphones, in particular, went from 4% in 2013 to almost 25% in 2017, the total value of purchases accounting to EUR 5.8 billion (+65%). In Italy 65.3% of online shops are estimated to sell cross-border.
E-commerce sales and customers
Out of 22 million people who purchased online, the number of regular shoppers (i.e. those who shop online at least once a month) is estimated at 16.2 million and generates 93% of the total demand, spending EUR 1 357 EUR each on average per year. Sporadic shoppers represent the remaining 7% and are estimated to spend EUR 284 on average per year. Goods generate around 150 million purchases per year, with an average value of EUR 85. Services generate around 50 million purchases per year, with an average value above EUR 200. The Italian e-consumer usually lives in cities. Those who spend more are generally in the age range between 35 and 54, with men shopping more often than women. The main reason why Italians buy online is to seek lower prices. In 2017 the sales value of Italian websites to foreign consumers was worth EUR 3.5 billion and accounted for almost 15% of total e-commerce purchases (with goods representing 67% of the value). When it comes to preferences, 47% of online shoppers in Italy prefer paying with PayPal or similar services. Other popular online payment methods in Italy are debit and credit card (31%). Together with MasterCard and VISA, the Italian credit card CartaSi is the most frequently used credit card in Italy for online purchases. It has a market share of 40% and more than 7 million Italians own such a card. Cash on delivery is also widely used.
Social media
More than 34 million Italians use social media, with the number of users growing by 3 million in 2017 (+10% annual growth). Of these, more than 30 million are active through smartphones. Facebook and YouTube lead the social media market, with 30 and 24 million users active on these platforms respectively. Instagram ranks third with 16 million. Twitter (7 million), Google+ (6 million), Pinterest (4.7 million) and LinkedIn (4.5 million) are also widely used. In 2017, the messaging platforms market was dominated by WhatsApp (22 million users), followed by Facebook Messenger (15 million) and Skype (8 million) (source: ANSA).

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Latest Update: May 2023