After a slow start compared to many other Western European markets, e-commerce started to take off during the review period. The curiosity and willingness of younger consumers to engage with the digital world has helped to drive this shift, with companies and the government supporting this by expanding and improving broadband coverage.
The Italian government has taken a number of measures that have helped drive the development of the country’s digital landscape. For example, its “Project Cashless” scheme is focused on counteracting tax evasion and drastically reducing cash transactions across small independent outlets, while looking to promote digitalisation within retail and foodservice.
The fact that almost a third of the Italian population lives in rural areas does, however, present challenges in the delivery of online purchases to consumers. Developing last-mile delivery systems, which reach the customer at the place and time that is most convenient for them, will help e-commerce develop in the country.
While Italians still tend to prefer to use a PC in order to make big-ticket purchases, consumers are increasingly using their smartphones for e-commerce. The rising popularity of social media apps such as Instagram and Pinterest is providing companies with an interesting space to influence the shopping habits of consumers.
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