E-Commerce Boom in Italy: 63,000 stores closed since 2008, but online sales thrives

Stefania Corda

Italians increasingly prefer to shop online. A consequence is the 63 thousand physical stores that closed since 2008. Clothing and household retail suffered the most. Of course the economic crisis is a major factor, but consumers preferring to shop online have also played an important role in this transformation.

Consumers increasingly shopping online, is a trend that led to e-commerce’s doubling activity in Italy over the course of just 4 years, bringing online purchases to 6% of the total sales in 2017. The average annual growth was 19%, leading to an online turnover of 24 billion euro (source: Confcommercio).

The forecast for the 2018 online purchases, is a growth of 15% compared to 2017 (Netcomm Forum, 2018).  A third of these purchases will be via smartphone, continuing the device of choice of users.

Regarding the categories that are being bought online, the interest increases during this period in information technology and electronics (+ 18%), clothing (+ 21%) and publishing (+ 25%). Emerging and fast growing are, FMCG (+ 34%), beauty (+ 29%), furniture and home living (+ 44%) and cars and spare parts (+ 26%). Tourism and transport and the insurance sector also expands by 5%.

‘Online and offline must be integrated’

The growth of the online market continues to be linear compared to the past, but behind this trend there is a strong change: new technologies have significantly changed consumer behavior, business models and sales processes, marking a new era of retail and global economy”,  explains Roberto Liscia, President of Netcomm. “We are in the middle of the perfect storm of e-commerce. Omnichannel has become the center of strategy for most companies. Connecting and integrating the web with the physical world is a priority”.

Businesses and managers will have the task of riding the digital revolution, not only transforming their business through the use of all available technologies and the creation of new skills, but by promoting a new form of culture based on innovation and experimentation, with a spirit self-criticism to get back into question and draw its own future, knowing every day of having to develop new knowledge and skills.

Regarding the concept of omnichannel, it must be noted that most physical retailers are not able to develop a successful e-commerce formula, let alone combining both a successful physical and an online store formula. The reason is that many variables are different: online items are priced differently as logistic costs weigh heavier on small purchases, internet advertising and SEO are very different competences than classic advertising, building a well-functioning e-store is also a struggle for many classic retailers and require serious investments, and finally recruiting and managing staff with great e-commerce competences requires a radically different business culture than the one propagated in physical retail.


“Ecommerce in Italy was worth 24 billion euros in 2017”, Ecommerce News, April 16, 2018: https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-italy-worth-24-billion-euros-2017/

Ufficio Stampa Netcomm, “L’e-commerce italiano continua la sua crescita a doppia cifra: +15%”, Milano 30 maggio.

Varpi Caterina, L’e-commerce in Italia vale 23,6 miliardi nel 2017, in crescita del 17%”, Engage, October 10, 2017.


Featured image: Ecommerce News, 2018


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Manual for Icecat Live: Real-Time Product Data in Your App

Icecat Live is a (free) service that enables you to insert real-time product content from some 300 m...
 June 1, 2016
http url

Manual for Icecat URL: Links to Product Data-sheets and Images

Version: 1.20, October 4, 2016.The purpose of this post is to explain the Icecat URL method to ...
 October 4, 2015
World map

Iceclog: Our Content Log and Playground for Testing New Ideas

“Iceclog” (Icecat content log) is the Icecat blog, where you will find...
 August 26, 2016

Manual for Icecat CSV Interface

This document describes the CSV (Comma-Separated Values) variant of Icecat's Open Catalog Interface...
 September 28, 2016

Iceclog Editor Guidelines: Writing Compelling Posts

The Iceclog Editor Guidelines are a quick guide for contributors to the Iceclog blog or "cl...
 August 17, 2016

Manual for Open Icecat JSON Product Requests

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is an increasingly popular means of transferring to data, comparab...
 February 17, 2017

Manual for Personalized Interface File and Catalog

Via the Icecat website and login area, a user can generate personalized or customized CSV or Excel f...
 October 5, 2016

Icecat Add-ons including Magento, PrestaShop, Oracle, SAP Hybris, Google Shopping. NEW: Drupal.

Icecat has a huge list of integration partners, that make it easy for clients and free users, to mak...
 January 25, 2019

Apple Watch: a Useful Tool or a Smart Toy?

After six months spent with my Apple Watch, I am still not sure if I consider it a useful tool or "j...
 September 30, 2016

Manual for Testseek Product Reviews Integration via Icecat

Icecat provides aggregated expert reviews from our partner Testseek, as an add-on service for both O...
 October 19, 2015