29.06.2016 by Benjamin Kircher

Country of the month: Italy

Interested in furthering your knowledge of selling online in other countries? If so, make sure that you don’t miss out on our "Country of the month" guide. This monthly issue entails an overview of a particular country, the most updated eCommerce information and useful tips for online merchants. Today we turn our attention to the Italy.


With a population of over 61 million people, Italy is the fourth largest consumer market in Europe. The E-commerce industry within the country announced a turnover of 28.8 billion euros in 2015, representing an increase of 19% over 2014’s figure.

In the distribution of this turnover, we can clearly see the sectors that are leading the way in the industry: leisure (47%) and tourism (30%).


Source: Ecommerce in Italy, from Casaleggio Associati.

With 22% of the industry’s turnover deriving from mobile devices and the country holding 22.3 million active mobile users, it is now essential for businesses to implement mobile strategy to their E-commerce planning.

Evidence shows that sellers are increasingly reliant on social networks to increase their generated sales. More than 58% shoppers have increased their investment in social networks.

These are the Italian key market trends in 2016:

Source: Ecommerce in Italy, from Casaleggio Associati.

Reaching the Italian consumer

E-Commerce is growing rapidly. More and more shoppers are going online as Internet and smartphone penetration rates rise.

Italian consumers love a bargain and are increasingly drawn to online shopping. Their hunger for brands is unmatched in Europe and as a result, Italian shoppers are now looking further afield to find what they want. In this respect, the most popular countries to buy from are the United Kingdom (12,5%), the United States (8%), Germany (6%) and France (5,8%).

There is plenty of room to grow, from fashion to homeowners and accessories. Of course, many big-name online retailers are already operating within the market (i.e. Amazon offers over two million books to Italian readers), but there is enormous potential for new local entrants.



If you are an online merchant looking for cross-border opportunities, you should be aware of certain points to reach the Italian consumer:

  1. Translate your website: While an English website will maintain any interest on a global scale, creating an Italian version is crucial for attracting local customers.
  2. Offer local currency payment options: Italians have adopted PayPal with enthusiasm, but will always expect to pay in Euros.
  3. Offer different delivery options: Italian businesses are now actively implementing drop-off points and alternative delivery options for their customers. Savvy shoppers are demanding greater convenience and flexibility from retailers.
  4. Don’t underestimate the importance of direct mailing: Supporting your brand with relevant advertising is a very effective form of marketing. Catalogues in particular remain a popular option for Italian consumers.
  5. Be sure to implement a returns strategy: The return rate in Italy is very high, up to 40% for fashion. Keep this in mind when developing your E-Commerce strategy.


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