Italy - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges

Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.

Last published date: 2021-10-28

Italy’s growth lags below the EU average although in 2021 domestic consumption appears to be slowly rebounding. Italy’s GDP grew only marginally in 2019, the year prior to the 2020 COVID outbreak.  Unemployment has remained well above the EU average, particularly youth unemployment.  At 30.9%, Italy has the highest youth unemployment rate in the Eurozone.

Italy is a mature and sophisticated manufacturing market. U.S. entrants face strong competition from local and other EU companies in all market segments.

Italy’s regulatory environment is complex and at times lacks the transparency found in other developed economies.

Products that involve health, safety, or environmental concerns are likely to be highly regulated. While EU-wide regulations often apply, Italian laws may go beyond the basic EU requirements.

Italian consumers are increasingly embracing digital services and the market is becoming more sophisticated. The digital evolution and growing internet penetration rates are fueled by investment in infrastructure from the Italian Government and key operators. Nevertheless, Italy still lags behind in fixed broadband and many SMEs lack funds to upgrade infrastructure.

E-commerce in Italy is developing rapidly and has registered annual double-digit growth since 2014. Although the Italian digital economy lags behind 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 posting solid growth.