This is what emerges from the report E-commerce in Italy 2021 produced by Casaleggio Associati presented in live streaming.
The most obvious data for online sales, highlighted by the 15th edition of the study, shows a slight decrease in total turnover. After years of growth, in 2020 the value in Italy is estimated at 48.25 billion euros, with a decrease of -1% in 2019. Former leading sectors are collapsing, such as tourism (-58%) and the Shows (-9%), while the Free time, which represents 48% of turnover: in particular online games, leisure and sport, but also Shopping centers (+ 36%), Insurance (+ 6%), food (+ 63%), Electronica (+ 12%), Fashion (+ 12%).
“The pandemic has caused a huge acceleration in online sales. The decrease in turnover is absolutely the news of this report, even if it is a minimum decrease of -1% compared to the previous year – points out Davide Casaleggio, CEO and Partner of Casaleggio Associati, in the streaming interview – This is because one of the strongest sectors of Italian e-commerce, tourism, has lost more than 58%, affecting the overall turnover. On the other hand, we found 3 million new Italian customers that I had never bought online and who did so for the first time in 2020. A customer base that is steadily consolidating. All these people will never come back. If 2020 was the year of acceleration, 2021 will bring a regulation, then will register a turning point in 2022 ”.
Increase in the number of potential customers: 3.2 million new users in Italy (5% of the Italian population)
The online broadcast in the month of December 2020, in fact, has reached its share 74.7%, + 4.7% compared to the previous year and a total of 3.2 million of new users. An important fact that has affected companies that have seen their potential sales network expand. It is not surprising that the increase in 50% new companies dedicated to online business. the 68% of companies surveyed by Casaleggio Associati
the relationship, carried out through the elaboration of studies and market studies, press articles and experience in the field of Casaleggio Associati, as well as through an online survey and in-depth interviews with some of the main operators, analyzes new innovative e-commerce scenarios.
E-commerce literacy: the digital side of the pandemic
In the 2021 edition, however, e-commerce is taking shape as a social phenomenon, with the pandemic becoming a driver of literacy and digital transformation: in fact, while more than 300,000 physical stores were closed in 2020, 85,000 new issues of TVA based on innovative processes were born, in an increasingly strong integration between the physical and digital space (imagine the QRcodes for menus, unimaginable in the pre-pandemic phase). In addition, the intensification of the customer experience and social commerce, while the customer journey (the interaction between the consumer and the company) becomes more and more integrated physical-digital.
Italy is one of the international trends, with some sectors that have benefited more than 2020, let’s see like gaming, the leisure sector (whatever shows that have suffered a serious general crisis), betting and Hobbies. Strong growth for sport, as shopping centers in second place for the first time with a turnover growth of 21% compared to the previous year, conquering the leading position in tourism for years (- 58% of the turnover compared to 2019 representing the ‘11% of the global e-commerce turnover in Italy). Growth also for home care (+ 39%) and furniture (+ 24%) conditioned by locking and entering the home.
Going beyond digital advertising
In addition, digital advertising is taking over traditional advertising. “In 2021, we see digital advertising overtaking traditional advertising – underlines Davide Casaleggio during the presentation of the report – It is obvious that companies must be able to integrate purchasing behavior and brand identity across the different channels, making all the information useful to the consumer available online, regardless of the point of contact “.
Acquisitions and federations of small Italian e-commerce players
Faced with the boom in online sales, businesses have had to reorganize and find a way to position themselves in the market. Over the past year, several acquisitions in the e-commerce sector, both in Italy and abroad, often aimed to expand their online channel with an omnichannel perspective (eg Nestlè bought Freshly, while Campari acquired Tannico).
“We wanted to identify certain trends that characterized 2020, which will probably see a succession of developments also in 2021 – continues Davide Casaleggio – The first is that of acquisitions. Economies of scale have become increasingly important to guarantee a service and have a higher contractual capacity than logistics, payment operators and all other providers to support the e-commerce activity. The integration of the different actors is increasingly important. Some acquisitions have already been made. In recent weeks, we have heard rumors about the Esselunga issue with interest from Amazon where rumors continue to follow. In consolidating electronic commerce in Italy, care must also be taken to protect the Italian market, because operators with greater economic and financial availability often come from abroad: this has favored the unifying model of small operators ”.
In 2020 and in the first part of 2021, many actors have joined the model of federation or company, sometimes even in cooperative mode, creating platforms and brands that allow you to present yourself in the market with more force. This model allows local businesses to be present online, even when individual efforts do not allow it, to optimize the management of presence, marketing, communication and logistics. A model that has allowed various companies to resist and prosper in a period of difficulty, and to thwart, at least in part, the advance of the markets.
Amazon is the most used market for Italian companies
Interviews revealed that 45% of companies sell in the marketplace, while the remaining 56% do not use these channels. For 32% of companies that sell on marketplaces, these represent less than 10% of turnover. For 19% of companies it affects from 11 to 25%, 17% speak of an increase between 26 and 50% while for another 17%, the incidence is between 51 and 75%. 15% has an incidence greater than 75%. Amazon is the marketplace most used by Italian companies (38%), followed by Ebay and Facebook Marketplace.
“If the markets remain the first choice of Italian companies – Casaleggio continues – it is necessary to underline how the modality of federation led to the creation of Local Marketplace thanks to the rediscovery of neighborhood shops by consumers ”.
This new purchasing method leads to reflection on a strategic issue for the future of the country: logistics and infrastructure.
“The increase in service has led to saturation of the sector – explains CEO Casaleggio – E-commerce generated shipments during lockdown increased 103% and 68.5% after lockdown. This has led to significant investments on the part of individuals but also to a lack of knowledge of shipping neutrality, that is to say the guarantee of the same treatment by logistics and maritime operators vis-à-vis all e-commerce players. In fact, those with the best economies of scale can afford to negotiate with suppliers and have and guarantee better service to the end customer and therefore a better deal than the smaller players ”.
Sustainability and customer relations among the trends for 2021
Between trend 2021Another strongly emerging theme is sustainability: many companies, also through the sensitivity of end customers, have transformed many services related to the packaging or the product itself based on sustainability, guaranteed by the manufacturer or the retailer.
Finally, the relationship with the customer, reflected in the enhancement of all these aspects which have reinforced physical and digital integration, obviously through the use of digital tools and product characteristics. Loyalty is very important: “The costs are obviously very high. It is therefore obvious that each new customer gained must therefore also be retained, ”adds the CEO. Davide Casaleggio.
“In 2020, businesses and users have pushed more on social commerce and this is a trend that will strengthen – he explains. Luca Eleuteri, co-founder of Casaleggio Associati -Involving users by getting them to buy and transforming them into product ambassadors, in a platform full of distractions like that of social networks, is not so trivial ”.