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E-commerce in Italy 2021, the Casaleggio Associati report is online
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Updated 08 March 2022

E-commerce in Italy 2021, the Casaleggio Associati report is online


Last year it is estimated that more than 390 thousand non-food trade and market services businesses have definitively lowered the shutter, against 85,000 new openings, for a total of -11.3%. In contrast, 10,467 companies registered with the Business Register with ATECO code 47.91.1 relating to online commerce (primary or secondary), compared to 6,968 in the previous year. The growth is 50%, compared to 20% the previous year. In addition to new businesses, it is also important to consider already existing SMEs: pre-covid SMEs that sold online through e-commerce on their website were 9%, while at the end of the year they increased to 17.2% (+8.2 %). Many SMEs have opted instead to sell via social media or other methods (eg online forms), going from 15.6% pre-emergency, to 27.8% (+12.2 points).

The online

In Italy, the spread of online among the population (from 2 years upwards), in December 2020 reached 74.7% (+ 4.7% compared to the previous year) with 44.7 million unique users monthly and an increase of 3.2 million users. The users who access from smartphones are 39.3 million (90% of the adult population). On the average day 32.2 million people are connected and 70.9% do so from smartphones, for an average time of 2 hours and 18 minutes.

2020 has created a demand for millions of people who had never tried online before, but above all it has shifted the investments of many companies that see online sales as the way to manage the crisis.
For this reason, 2021 will be the year of great maneuvers in the e-commerce market with consolidation operations and an internal transition to companies from being given to a research and development area becoming a fundamental part of companies.


The average cost per e-shopper is 674 euros. 67% of users have purchased online from foreign sites and practically all have purchased through the marketplace: 94% on Amazon, 52% on eBay and 44% on Zalando. Brands have found themselves facing the increase in the user base and the evolution of consumption habits.

The themes

Topics such as the digitization of payments, warehouse and logistics management, the development of the relationship with the customer have become crucial over the last year. For example, in 2020 58% of interactions with brands took place online, with an increase of 17% compared to 2019. A percentage that will continue to grow in 2021 given the demand from consumers to digitize brands. More than 16 million Italians think that the change in their habits after the health emergency is irreversible. Compared to the results of the survey “Impact of Coronavirus on e-commerce in Italy” published by Casaleggio Associati in March 202050 according to which most of the e-commerce companies interviewed (54%) had seen their turnover drop due to Coronavirus , 21% had seen an increase and 25% had not yet perceived the impact, 2020 instead ended with 68% of companies declaring an increase in turnover (with an average change in turnover of + 56% ). 20% of the companies interviewed said they had lost turnover, halving it compared to the previous year, while 12% managed to keep it stable. The number of companies that have sold the most through e-commerce is therefore positive. Despite this, many of these companies belong to sectors that weigh relatively little on the total e-commerce turnover and therefore this positive trend is not enough to shift the balance of the total turnover.


Nicola Zanetti

Founder B-PlanNow® | Startup mentor | Startup consulting & marketing strategist | Leading startup to scaleup | Private angel investor | Ecommerce Manager | Professional trainer | Book writer