At the 16th edition of the Netcomm Forum, held entirely digitally on May 12th, new trends and updated data related to B2C eCommerce in Italy have been analysed. A lampant picture shows how they are both highly influenced by the pandemic still underway.
B2C eCommerce in Italy, as reported by the eCommerce Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, has been the engine of growth and innovation in Retail. In 2020, the health situation drove operators to accelerate the digital transformation process. Thus, eCommerce played a fundamental role for the recovery of trade and consumption, which, despite the general collapse at the beginning of 2020, closed at 25.9 billion €.
The awareness of the importance of redesigning activities and processes has grown among Italian merchants, enabling these organizational changes to offer a fluid and omnichannel experience. This phenomenon has had effects on the numbers of the Italian B2C eCommerce: in 2020 online purchases of Italians grew by + 3.4%, reaching 32.4 billion euros. However, it should be emphasized the opposite trend between the products sector, which grew by + 45%, and the services sector, which fell by -52%. The sharp decline in services - primarily of the Tourism and Transport sector – has been more than offset by the sudden growth in products, which was driven by the new lockdown introduced in the final phase of the year 2020. These are the words of Riccardo Mangiaracina, Scientific Director of the B2c eCommerce Observatory - School of Management of the Milan Polytechnic.
Still referring to the products sector, it can be seen that, compared to 2019, they have had an explosive growth, equal to an increase of € 8 billion. The sectors that have benefited most from this growth are Information Technology and Electronics in first place, with € +1.9 billion, Food & Grocery, with € +1.3 billion, and last but not least, Furniture and Home Living with +1.1 billion €.
The online penetration of total retail purchases, thanks to the collapse of offline consumption due to the restrictions on physical trade due to the pandemic, records a significant leap forward and goes from 7% in 2019 to 9% in 2020.
In this particular historical moment, in fact, it is eCommerce that plays the fundamental role of growth engine of commerce, a change triggered by the pandemic, which must be understood as it could represent both an effect deriving from the current emergency and a transformation medium-long term.
The current situation has also changed the balance between online and offline, forcing the offer to meet changing consumer needs and accelerate its digitization process, prompting consumers to use online channels more frequently. These changes are a sign of a general maturation that will allow the Italian B2c eCommerce to continue growing also in 2021. In particular, a further increase in online purchases is expected, driven by a consolidation in the product sectors and by a slight but significant recovery of services.
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