Voice of the Industry

Surging ecommerce in Italy: lessons to learn for a thriving business

Friday 17 June 2022 09:54 CET | Editor: Irina Ionescu | Voice of the industry

Paulina Plowiec-Hanano, Director Partner Development at PPRO, talks about the growing ecommerce market in Italy and the opportunities merchants benefit from by expanding their business in the area and providing the necessary local payment methods for customers.

Italian ecommerce grows by up to 67% 

Whilst Italy has been one of Europe’s more modest ecommerce markets for a while, it has massive headroom for growth. Over the next year, Italian social ecommerce — buying and selling on social platforms — will grow by 67%1 . And that’s not a one-year anomaly, as the ecommerce sector will continue to grow by an average of 57% a year, between now and 20281

In total, the value of ecommerce in the country will rise from USD 47 billion in 2021 to USD 85 billion in 20252. Cross border ecommerce is also on the rise, as Italians buy at least 17% of their online purchases from merchants based in other countries, with China, the UK, and Germany as the most popular online shopping destinations. Almost half (47%) of Italians have shopped cross-border at some point in their lives.

Their per capita annual GDP is just over USD 31,000, 31% higher than the regional average3. Moreover, the average Italian spends USD 951 a year with online merchants, a figure expected to rise to USD 1,440 in the next three years2. Italian consumers are increasingly embracing digital services and the ecommerce market is growing rapidly, fuelled by solid digital and financial infrastructure. 94% of the population has a bank account, 44% has a credit card, 84% has an Internet connection, and 83% has a smartphone2

Almost 60% of the population has at least a few digital skills, with nearly 80% of Italians using a fixed-line broadband connection. Similarly, nearly 100% live in an area with 4G coverage, and 51% in an area that is ready for 5G4. Italians complete 49% of all online transactions on a mobile device [2]. According to a study by the US State Department, 80% of Italian shoppers buy at least one item online each month5

The market should rank highly on any digital merchants’ watchlist. The largest online retailer in the country is Amazon6 but its total market share is less than 15%7. This leaves plenty of room in the market for newcomers and for cross-border merchants. 

A recent survey ranked Italy as the best market for cross-border ecommerce in Europe, based on its rapid digitisation and the eagerness of its younger consumers to try new online retailers8. All of this makes Italy an extremely attractive market for merchants looking for their next big expansion. Whether you plan to set up shop in the country or sell cross-border from your home base, Italians are eager to spend. 

Localisation is the key

However, in order to succeed in Italy, you need to localise for the market. One of the key areas which needs localising is payments. Even though 44% of Italians have a credit card, Italians use cards to pay for just 38% of all online purchases2. For the rest of the transactions, locals make use of digital payment methods.

The most popular type of digital payment method in Italy is the e-wallet, which Italians use to pay for 36% of all their online purchases2 The most prevalent e-wallet player is PayPal, but domestic rivals such as Satispay and BancomatPay (the mobile solution of PagoBancomat) are on the rise. They are already used by millions of consumers and should be on the radar of every merchant planning to do business in Italy. 

Bank-transfers, including various SEPA-based products account for circa 9% of ecommerce purchases, while cash is used in just 5% of transactions2. The total value of the transactions Italians pay for using local digital payment methods is USD 29 billion2. If you don’t support local digital payment methods, and you rely too heavily on cards, you’ll miss out on that spend. 

Italy is a sophisticated, growing market with a high acceptance of online commerce making it an attractive target for any online merchant. But, with over 60% of Italians using something other than a big-brand credit or debit card to pay for online purchases, businesses that want to succeed and gain market share quickly must localise their payment methods and offer the ones Italian consumers want and trust. 

About Paulina Plowiec-Hanano

Paulina joined PPRO in 2019 and she is co-leading the EMEA partnership team helping our strategic clients to leverage on our local payment infrastructure to effectively deliver their global payment strategies and better meet demands of their merchants. She brings over 10 years of payment experience in sales, commercial delivery and strategy disciplines across global payments and wallet solutions developed through her previous roles at leading payment companies including Braintree, PayPal and Paysafe.

About PPRO

PPRO is the leading global provider of local payments infrastructure, powering growth for payment service providers and enterprises with payment platforms. Companies at the forefront of payments technology leverage PPRO's unified platform, expert services, and local payment methods to boost sales in over 100 e-commerce markets worldwide. In 2020 alone, PPRO processed over $11 billion for its customers, including companies such as Mollie, PayPal, Worldpay, and many others.



  1. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/05/11/2440809/0/en/Italy-Social-Commerce-Market-Intelligence-Report-2022-Market-is-Expected-to-Grow-by-67-4-to-Reach-4-235-3-Million-in-2022-Forecast-to-2028.html

  2. https://www.ppro.com/countries/italy

  3. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?locations=Z7-IT

  4. https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/countries-digitisation-performance

  5. https://www.trade.gov/country-commercial-guides/italy-ecommerce

  6. https://www.similarweb.com/top-websites/italy/category/e-commerce-and-shopping

  7. https://algopix.com/amazon/italy

  8. https://www.parcelmonitor.com/blog/italy-potential-cross-border-ecommerce-market-in-europe

  9. https://lpi.worldbank.org/international/global

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Keywords: local payment method, merchants, ecommerce, cross-border ecommerce, online payments, credit card, SEPA, e-wallet, digital wallet
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: PPRO
Countries: Italy
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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