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Ecommerce record during Christmas in Italy

It was a very merry Christmas for the Italian ecommerce sector. The online retail turnover during the holiday season achieved a new record. Netcomm, the consortium of Italian ecommerce, previously predicted online purchases would be worth 2.5 billion euros during this period, but instead it reach 3 billion euros, which is an annual increase of 28 percent.

And these are great numbers, if you compare them with the same period in previous years. The Christmas period in 2013 for example showed a 21% growth, while the holiday season in 2012 showed an increase of 14%. During the Christmas season in 2014, more than 10 million Italians bought something online. And 2 million of them brought their Christmas gifts primarily or exclusively online, which is an increase of 35% from last year.

Every second a product gets sold
Product categories like travel & transportation, clothing, computers and accessories have dominated the last sales period, which traditionally includes the months November and December. And signs that this Christmas would bring surprises for the ecommerce industry were already there during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as Il Sole 24 Ore writes.

“The long tail of these days has been felt, and how, even for the Italian ecommerce. For example, Yoox, a trading company specializing in online luxury brands, has announced that the holidays surrounding Thanksgiving gave the company this year’s best five days in terms of sales.” Yoox received an order every 2.5 seconds and sold a product every second.

Growth thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Another Italian company, Banzai Group (with ecommerce sites like ePrice, ePlaza and SaldiPrivati), noticed some fantastic growth. Their sales during Black Friday more than doubled year-on-year and sales during the following Cyber Monday were up 70% compared to Cyber Monday in 2013.

Andreas Schmeidler, Vente-privee.com’s country manager for Italy, saw mobile traffic peak with 50-55% prior to Christmas. “In mid-October we noticed an escalation of sales, undoubtedly due to the arrival of the holidays. But purchases continued afterwards, even in November and December, which confirms the maturity of Italian customers towards sales events.”

Italian consumers: more confidence in ecommerce
Edoardo Giorgetti, managing ecommerce director of Banzai, also thinks Italian consumers have become more mature, as they gained more confidence in shopping online. “Our sales have outperformed the market. We noticed an increased popularity of ‘smart’ products, but also of large appliances. We’re talking about products much more complex than a notebook. This is certainly an indication that the consumer has a lot more confidence in ecommerce.”

But there are also some words of criticism with regards to the Italian ecommerce industry. Roberto Liscia from Netcomm states there are about 30,000 companies that sell online in Italy. That corresponds to 4% of all Italian companies: a lot less than the European average of 15%. So clearly, there’s still much room for improvement, also because the 20 largest players generate 60% of all sales in Italy. “There are almost 16 million Italians who buy online and in this country there are about 22 million households. So perhaps you could conclude that the demand is here.”

Ecommerce growth in Italy
Ecommerce growth in Italy. Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

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