Italy - Country Commercial Guide

Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2022-11-27

Italian consumers are increasingly embracing digital services and the market is becoming more sophisticated. The digital evolution is fueled by government investment in infrastructure and key operators. Nevertheless, Italy still lags in fixed broadband and many SMEs lack funds to upgrade their infrastructure. Although the Italian digital economy trails other major European countries, e-commerce is poised to continue its upward trend with business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) transactions, all demonstrating solid growth. In 2021, e-commerce in Italy had an estimated turnover of €64.01 billion, a 33% increase from 2020.

The number of Italian web shoppers continues to grow (93% of the population is now online), with 10% of all Italian retail sales in 2021 completed online. Sales are increasingly transacted on mobile devices, which now account for roughly 55% of all digital sales. The main factors fueling Italian e-commerce growth are:

  • improved internet access infrastructure and wider broadband connection availability
  • one of the world’s highest rates of mobile and smartphone diffusion, allowing business and consumer segments to take advantage of new technologies for e-commerce transactions
  • increasing recognition of e-commerce as a cheaper and efficient tool to serve and support customers
  • improved transaction security
  • Italian legislation recognizing the legal validity of digital signatures and digital contracts
  • the COVID-19 pandemic that pushed Italians online.

Domestic e-commerce (B2C) 

The B2C e-commerce market in Italy has grown at a double-digit rate since 2017, generating about $40 billion in 2021. However, despite the positive trends, the value of the Italian B2C e-commerce market in 2021 was still only one fourth of the UK market, half of the French market, and 65% of the German market. About 80% of online shoppers make at least one purchase per month with an average annual expenditure of $1,587 per user (2021).

Regarding B2C payments trends, even though cards represent 40% of market share, the use of digital wallets is growing significantly. Digital wallets are expected to grow by 26.7% by the end of 2022.

Cross-border e-commerce 

In 2021, 67% of Italians purchased from international websites. According to the J.P. Morgan 2021 e-commerce Payments Trends Report, the most popular foreign e-shops used by Italian customers are in China, the UK, and the United States. On the other hand, over 55% of Italian companies use e-commerce to sell their products to foreign markets. Italian companies sell mostly within the European Union with 24% selling to France, 22% to Spain, and 21% to Germany. Outside of the EU, 15% of Italian companies sell to the United States and the UK, 6% to Asia (5% to China, 2% to Japan, and 4% to other Asian markets), and 3% to South America.

B2B e-commerce 

In 2021, e-commerce B2B transactions totaled $447 billion, representing a 12% increase in value from 2020. Transactions between businesses and central/local governments only account for 15% of all B2B transactions in Italy.

Despite the rising trend in digitalization, digitalization rates among Italian firms are quite low and most small and medium-sized companies are far from embracing a digital transformation process which would improve and cut the costs of B2B relations. In 2020, only one in four large Italian companies used an e-commerce platform. Large enterprises use 250 different e-procurement platforms to manage clients and suppliers’ electronic orders. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation, and a growing number of Italian companies consider digitalization a priority. In addition, the obligation of delivering electronic invoices to the Italian public administration (PA) has resulted in a push towards digitalization for both private and state-owned companies.

The most common B2B e-commerce model is e-business, which entails corporate process digitalization in conjunction with clients and suppliers (supplier selection, management of customer orders, after-sale services, etc.). In addition, over the last few years, web portals for B2B e-commerce (such as e-commerce B2C models) as well as B2B marketplaces have gained popularity.

B2B e-commerce applications and e-procurement are registering continued growth. The most active businesses implementing B2B solutions are in the automotive, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, electronics, and consumer electronics sectors. Specialized B2B applications in key “Made in Italy” sectors are also gaining momentum; there are an estimated 350 B2B platforms across different industries. Virtually all major Italian industrial groups use e-procurement, and forecasts indicate that in the next few years, up to 80% of all company purchases will be online.

For information on public sector e-procurement, see the “Selling to the Public Sector” section of this Country Commercial Guide.

E-commerce of Services 

International B2C retailing platforms have a strong influence on the Italian e-commerce market. Popular e-commerce websites in Italy include, Aliexpress, Zalando, Autoscout24, Groupon, Yoox, and Pixmania. Banzai Srl, Italy’s leading e-commerce operator, controls ePrice and Saldiprivati. Many companies in Italy offer successful omni-channel digital solutions and international e-commerce sites that are multilingual, multi-currency, multi-collection, and multi-brand. These types of businesses support brands by managing all aspects of their own e-stores, including retail strategy, activity planning, communication, web marketing, store management, customer care, invoicing, and payment collection. These channels offer opportunities for U.S. small and medium-sized companies interested in selling to the Italian market.

Social Commerce

The significant increase in use of social media worldwide has had an impact on e-commerce because consumers are now more likely to purchase through social media. Specifically, more brands as well as marketplaces have synchronized their e-commerce platforms with social media so consumers can easily connect to their e-shops. In Italy, 43.2 million people (5% more than in 2020), or 72% of the population, use social media. According to a recent report on e-commerce in based on surveys and interviews with operators in the Italian market, 55% of Italian companies plan social media investments, especially in Facebook and Instagram, which in 2022 are ranked as the most effective social media platforms.

E-commerce Business Service Provider Ecosystem

Popular marketplaces that offer products in a wide variety of categories include Amazon, eBay, Mediashipping, Alibaba, AliExpress, Subito, and Dmail. In addition, there are a range of online marketplaces specialized by sector. The following list is a selection and is not meant to be comprehensive. 

  • Travel and tourism:, eDreams, Expedia, Italo Treno, Kayak,, Opodo, Skyscanner, Trenitalia, Tripadvisor, Trivago, and Volagratis
  • Information technology and consumer electronics:  ePRICE, Euronics, MediaWorld, Monclick, Mr Price, TRONY, and Unieuro
  • Fashion:  Privalia, SaldiPrivati, Veepee, YOOX, and Zalando
  • Books, music, and video:  Amazon,, LaFeltrinelli, and Unilibro
  • Couponing:  Groupalia and Groupon are among the most important sites

Legal and Regulatory Environment

In 2015, the EU launched the Digital Single Market Strategy, of which e-commerce was a priority area. Since then, the Electronic Commerce Directive has provided rules for online services in the EU, including requiring providers to abide by regulations in the country where they are established (the country of origin); to meet certain consumer protection rules, such as indicating contact details on their website, clearly identifying advertising, and protecting against spam. The Directive also grants exemptions to liability for intermediates that transmit illegal contact by third parties and for unknowingly hosting content.