Italian eCommerce is also experiencing the impacts of the Covid-19 emergency, between booming sectors and others that are slowing down. Online sales are fueled by government strategies aimed at containing contagions with serious interventions to move and close many stores and businesses. Consequently, the use of digital payments is also growing, an area in which our country is still lagging behind European standards.
Food, over-the-counter drugs, personal and sports products, publishing, information technology and electronics are the main areas that have enjoyed a boom in online sales: isolation increases consumer familiarity in all age groups with the Internet world, pushing retailers to enhance omnichannel infrastructures and strategies to exploit all touchpoint.
Food & Grocery is the sector that has benefited most from online sales and the trend has started in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, the three regions most affected by the coronavirus. The growth, in fact, matches the gradual closure of our country: initially in the "red areas" circumscribed in the North and then coming into force on March 10, the decree that made the whole of Italy a protected area. In a few weeks the demand has rocketed, multiplying by a factor of 10 or 20.
At the end of 2019 Food & grocery started from a situation of low development in Italy, for every 100 euros spent in the food sector, only 1 went through online. The food distribution players reached by the peak of demand are the chains of large-scale distribution (Auchan, Carrefour, Coop, Esselunga). But not only. Even small commerce is put at the service of the community through various general operators such as Amazon Prime Now.
ECommerce is a valid alternative to traditional stores forced to remain closed.
Other sectors are doing differently. On the one hand there are consumer electronics items, often linked to the needs of smart working and remote schooling: purchases are increasing here. Sports and fitness products, pet products, and subscriptions to subscriptions for streaming movies and other forms of online entertainment are also doing well.
The trend is different for cosmetics and clothing: the consumer tends to postpone these types of purchase because thoughtful needs unnecessary in this historical moment and not necessary in the short term. Today making predictions on constantly evolving scenarios continues to be very difficult and difficult. However, there is already an important lesson to learn: commerce is the confirmation of a fundamental point of contact with the consumer, who surfs online and is constantly looking for ideas and information.
The barriers that fell during the lockdown and the permanent social distancing in the coming months will probably also change the form of trade, which will end up with more empty stores and more digital, more international customers but also with less financial resources. The future challenge facing retailers will be to quickly adopt true formulas of omnichannel, price transparency and strengthening of services.
In economics, as in society and in nature, the Darwinist law reigns, which rewards survival with not the strongest but who knows best how to adapt to change.
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