A guide to Italian e-commerce and local payments

Everything you need to know about Italian e-commerce and payment preferences

Italy: an e-commerce & payments primer

The Italian e-commerce market is worth US$45 billion a year and is forecast to grow by an annual average of 10% a year between 2022 and 2026, reaching a value of US$75 billion [1]. Like people almost everywhere else, Italians who had never shopped online before started doing so during the pandemic. 

And that trend persists. In 2021, the latest year for which we have figures, 36 million Italians shopped online [2]. In certain categories, clothing and beauty, between 25% and 44% of consumers now use a mix of on- and offline stores [2]. Over 20% of total fashion sales in Italy are now made online, compared to just under 3% of grocery sales [2]. 

The top e-commerce segments in the country are electronics and media, of which 29% of shoppers say they have bought online, fashion (26%), toys and hobby items (16%) and personal care items (15%) [1]. Over half of Italian online shoppers have bought items from merchants based outside of Italy [1]. Their purchases are worth US$7 billion, approximately 16% of the total e-commerce market value [1].

Italians only pay for a third of all online purchases using a credit card [1]. They pay for the remaining two thirds of e-commerce transactions with a mixture of e-wallets (34%), bank transfers (11%), various other alternative payments (19%) and cash (4%) [1]. 

That’s a relatively high proportion for cash, twice the rate of cash payment in neighbouring France. According to a recent study, consumers are more likely to insist on cash-on-delivery when buying from lesser-known merchants and merchants based outside of Italy [3]. This underlines the importance of building trust, and offering trusted payment methods, for merchants seeking to build a consumer base in Italy. Even the credit card market in Italy is unforgiving to any e-commerce merchant that assumes it can fall back on the payment options it offers consumers in the UK or the US. Almost 40% of the credit cards circulating in Italy were issued by local schemes, rather than the big international names [1]. Fail to support these local cards at the checkout, and you’ll miss out on a significant chunk of the Italian e-commerce market. 

Italian e-commerce: enabling and limiting factors

Around 5% of Italians are unbanked and just under half do not have a credit card [1]. As the payment data has already shown, to succeed in Italy, merchants must support a range of locally preferred, “alternative”, payment methods. Only supporting the payment methods standard in the UK, US or other Anglophone markets will make it harder to reach Italian consumers and win their trust. 

More than 90% of Italians have an Internet connection and almost 80% have an Internet-connected smartphone [1]. According to EU figures, 38% of Italians with a connection enjoy download speeds of at least 100Mbps — and 7% of 1Gbps [4]. 

On the other hand, just 13% of Italian small and medium enterprises sell online, even in 2022 (when the last figures were collected) [4]. In many niche areas, new entrants will generally find local competitors are less likely to be online than might be the case in other markets. Italy ranks 19th, out of 160, on the World Banks Global Logistics Performance Index [5]. Unsurprisingly, given the rapid expansion of e-commerce in the country over the last few years, the last-mile logistics sector, specifically set-up to tailor to e-commerce providers, is growing. A recent study found last-mile capacity increasing by almost 9% a year [6]. 

Footnotes

  1. Original PPRO research 
  2. https://ecommerce-europe.eu/news-item/netcomm-publishes-figures-on-italian-e-commerce 
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330135463_Factors_determining_Italian_online_shoppers%27_preference_of_cash_on_delivery_Empirical_analysis 
  4. https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/desi-italy 
  5. https://lpi.worldbank.org/international/global 
  6. https://www.brinknews.com/the-last-mile-is-determining-e-commerces-winners
Countries Italy

Quick Facts

Almost a quarter of Italians now buy at least some of their groceries online and the online grocery sector is expected to grow by almost 20% a year in the near future.
Italy ranks in the top ten for cross border shopping in a recent survey by CB Commerce, with 52% of Italians buying from other countries.
82% of Italians are online, but only 59% shop in online stores. Of those that do 51% have only shopped once or twice in the previous three months to being surveyed.
In May 2022, Amazon.it was the most popular website for Italian internet users, clocking up 40.09% of visits that month.

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Italy

Local Payment Methods

BitPay Type Cryptocurrency Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Hyperwallet Type Bank transfer, Gift card, Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High MyBank Type Bank transfer Regions Western & Central Europe PayPal Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Paysafecard Type Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Paysafecash Type Cash Regions Eastern Europe & the CIS, North America + 1 Paysera Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Satispay Type Wallet Regions Western & Central Europe Market relevance Medium SEPA Direct Debit Type Bank transfer Regions Eastern Europe & the CIS, Western & Central Europe Market relevance High Skrill Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Trustly Type Bank transfer Regions Eastern Europe & the CIS, North America + 1 Market relevance High TrustPay Type Bank transfer Regions Eastern Europe & the CIS, Western & Central Europe Allied Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High UnionPay SecurePay Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Apple Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Amazon Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, North America + 1 Market relevance High BANCOMAT Pay Type Wallet Regions Western & Central Europe Market relevance High DaoPay Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Google Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Masterpass Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Mobiamo Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Mooney Type Prepaid card Regions Western & Central Europe Market relevance High Razer Gold Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Samsung Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High SEPA Credit Transfer Type Bank transfer Regions Eastern Europe & the CIS, Western & Central Europe Market relevance High SWIFT Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High MySi di CartaSi Type Wallet Regions Western & Central Europe Market relevance Medium PostePay Type Wallet Regions Western & Central Europe Market relevance Medium Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance Medium SEPA Instant Credit Transfers (SCT Inst) Type Bank transfer Regions Eastern Europe & the CIS, Western & Central Europe Market relevance Medium Boloro Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Clearpay Type Instalments Regions Western & Central Europe Market relevance High G2A Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance Medium Microsoft Pay Type Wallet Regions North America, Western & Central Europe NETELLER Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Nexi Pay Type Wallet Regions Western & Central Europe SafetyPay Type Bank transfer, Cash Regions South & Central America, Western & Central Europe Market relevance High Sofort (Klarna) Type Bank transfer Regions Western & Central Europe Market relevance High Splitit Type Instalments Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3

General Information

  • Population 60.4 m
  • Population 15 + 52.6 m
  • Online population 55.8 m
  • Area 301,340 km2
  • Currency EUR
  • GDP 2,120.2 bn $US
  • GDP per capita 35,122 $US

Payment types

  • Card-based payments
  • Cash-based payments
  • Bank transfer
  • Wallets
  • Other
[{"label":"Card-based payments","value":"32"},{"label":"Cash-based payments","value":"4"},{"label":"Bank transfer","value":"11"},{"label":"Wallets","value":"34"},{"label":"Other","value":"19"}]

Banked population
  • Italy 95%
  • Western & Central Europe 96%
  • World 67%
Credit card penetration
  • Italy 46%
  • Western & Central Europe 47%
  • World 19%
Internet penetration
  • Italy 93%
  • Western & Central Europe 92%
  • World 62%
Smartphone penetration
  • Italy 77%
  • Western & Central Europe 81%
  • World 70%

The E-Commerce Market

Top e-commerce segments 2021

  1. Electronics & Media: 29%
  2. Fashion: 26%
  3. Toys, Hobby & DIY: 16%
  4. Food & Personal Care: 15%
  5. Furniture & Appliances: 14%

Cross-border e-commerce

  1. Cross-border proportion of total e-commerce – 16%
  2. Value of cross-border e-commerce – 7.3 bn $US
  3. Online shoppers who have shopped cross-border – 52%

Top 3 cross-border shopping origin markets

  1. China: 38%
  2. Germany: 18%
  3. UK: 12%
B2C e-commerce growth 20->21
  • Italy 21.5%
E-commerce % of total retail
  • Italy 8%
  • Western & Central Europe 17%
  • World 20%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device
  • Italy 39%
  • Western & Central Europe 44%
  • World 53%

E-Commerce Trends

  • E-commerce market size 44.8 bn $US
  • E-commerce spending per capita 758 $US
  • E-commerce spending as % of GDP 2.2%

The Credit Card Split

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Local Schemes
[{"label":"Visa","value":"37"},{"label":"Mastercard","value":"24"},{"label":"American Express","value":"1"},{"label":"Local Schemes","value":"38"}]

The information on our Insights pages has been compiled by us in cooperation with Datamatics and Wright & Brown. The data shown is partially owned by us and partially owned by GlobalData. © 2021 by PPRO Financial Ltd. No data and information can be used for any further publication without the explicit approval of PPRO.

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