The Italian e-commerce market is continuously developing and shows every year steady growth rates. The pandemic in the year 2020 accelerated this significantly. The Netherlands was one of the first European countries that embraced the e-commerce market early on. This advantage of ‘early adapters’ is still visible today as the country has one of the highest online customer penetration rates in Europe.

Italy is categorized as a developing online market as prices are not stabilized and growth rates are high.

E-commerce market

The e-commerce world has become a serious part of society and is changing into a demand driven online market. Sales rates are still high and accelerated further in the year 2020.

The turnover of the worldwide e-commerce market in 2020 is estimated at € 2.582 billion. This is an increase of 16% compared to 2019. The strongest growth continents are North America and Europe with both 18% growth, followed by Asia with 16%.

Zooming in on Europe we see that the United Kingdom, Germany and France are the biggest e-commerce markets. Italy and Spain are the fastest growing countries.

Italy is an emerging market

The e-commerce market in Italy is an example of an emerging market, especially when it comes to the sales of products online. Characteristics of emerging markets are that they are not fully developed, have high growth rates and that sales prices of services and products are the most decisive factor to buy. Italy is one of the fastest growing online markets of Europe with an average growth between 10% and 19% in the years 2015 till 2019. The online Italian market consists mainly of the sale of products and in a smaller way of the selling and offering of services.

The e-commerce market in Italy is an example of an emerging market, especially when it comes to the sales of products online.

The use of online marketplaces has increased rapidly worldwide due to the wide offer, safety and convenience, low prices and often free shipping. In Italy 98% of all e-commerce users have ordered at least every now and then at an online marketplace within the last month. The most significant marketplaces in Italy are Amazon (38% of the market share), eBay (19%), Facebook marketplace (12%) and other smaller marketplaces (31% together) for example Alibaba, Zalando, ePrice and Tmall.

Online Payment Solutions

Worldwide new digital payment wallets arise on the market and are adopted by the online consumer. It is fundamental for the consumer experience to offer user-friendly and a various range of payment options.

The offer of online payment gateway solutions is very limited in Italy. Stripe is one of the international providers that has a significant market share in Italy. Also Paypal is very popular. In 2019 more than half of all Italian e-commerce clients (55%) used PayPal as the preferred payment method and 29% of the online consumers used In Italy online customers have the advantage due to the European legislation that they could get a refund in case of a returned order. While in brick and mortar stores they often get a coupon.

The most important segments of the e-commerce markets in Italy between 2017 and 2018 were:

  • Leisure (41,3%)

  • Tourism (28%)

  • Online marketplaces (14,5%)

The market penetration is a bit lower compared to other European online markets, yet these numbers are increasing rapidly and during the year 2020 over two million new Italian customers entered the online market.