In recent years, the digitalisation of businesses has favoured an exponential growth of the e-commerce sector, a trend that captures a significant number of users, triggering new purchasing habits and an ever-increasing use of digital channels.

The number of people who buy online using a smartphone is increasing year by year, generating an intense turnover: In 2019, there was a decrease in desktop browsing from 35.4 to 28.4 million users per month, with mobile use equal to 67%.

The surveys conducted by the Netcomm consortium show that in Italy the e-commerce sector is constantly growing, with the possibility of reaching an increase of 55%: this positive trend is involving more and more sectors, even those that initially seemed to be almost completely excluded, such as furniture, the pharmaceutical market, that of wellness and beauty.

But which are the fastest growing e-commerce sectors?

Online purchases appear to have reached 32.4 billion euros

Food & Grocery recorded a growth of 70%

E-commerce: growth sectors

B2C e-commerce in Italy closed 2020 with a positive balance of growth. This was mainly related to the sale of products. Online purchases appear to have reached 32.4 billion euros, with different trends in different sectors: the sector relating to products showed an increase of 45%, equal to 25.9 billion euros, while for services, on the contrary, there was a decrease of 52%, with a total value for purchases of € 6.5 billion. The e-commerce companies that are growing the most are those focused on the sale of basic necessities, such as the food and pharmaceutical sectors, while there has been a sharp decline in the travel and clothing sectors. In fact, if previously the most successful e-commerce was recreational, today the trend has changed considerably: for example, more and more people prefer to do their shopping online. Therefore, many supermarkets are diversifying the offer of products by turning to a specific niche of users, who are interested in having additional services. In particular, the Food & Grocery segment, which is worth about 2.71 billion euros, recorded a growth of 70% in 2020 compared to 2019. 88% of this value is represented by food, thanks to the contribution sales of fresh food, dried food and alcoholic beverages.

The enhancement of logistics, the effectiveness of deliveries, the increasing use of technology and the new formats proposed for online ordering together with payment methods, have encouraged purchases and favoured the growth in the number of applications for home delivery of food.

According to Netcomm data, food delivery was one of the sectors that recorded a threefold increase in demand and generated an estimated value of over 700 million euros, creating an authentic revolution in the food sector. Along with food, the currently growing sectors for e-commerce are:

  • Home and furniture. The use of augmented reality and the development of applications have allowed the user to virtually experiment with furniture and furnishing accessories in their properties even before the purchase, generating a growth in the sector of +29%.
  • Shopping Centres. The trend of online shopping centers, dictated by large international players, reaches growth of +39% and a share of around 14.5% in turnover.
  • Fashion. The fashion sector is recording a strong increase, both in terms of customer growth and overall turnover; in fact, a growth rate of +21% is estimated. In particular, Italians have a strong propensity to use specialized multi-brand portals: digital information channels are increasingly determining the choice, from the manufacturer's official website to e-commerce product listings.
  • Tourism. The increasing use of smartphones has generated a surge in online tourism: in Europe, 47% of searches related to the travel sector are carried out from a mobile device and over 70% of travellers use their mobile phones while traveling to search for accommodation, monuments, sites and points of interest.

This online expansion also affects the sector dedicated to personal care and home automation, and sales in services, especially in the insurance sector, are gradually increasing, even if this increase proceeds at a slower pace.

How to take advantage of growth sectors to sell online

Focusing on online is the solution adopted by companies to increase visibility on the web: omnichannel is the trend to follow to be able to increase sales, favoring the integration of e-commerce with physical stores.

Via the internet, the consumer is informed, compares prices and decides whether to conclude or refine his purchases in the store or via the web: therefore, the integration between the sales channels, regardless of the sector and type of product, assumes fundamental importance for any type of company. This is especially true for activities that operate in the industrial world, where it is necessary to review the distribution between wholesalers, agents and sales people.

Those who have shops on the high street will have to optimize their sales strategy by connecting and integrating the web with the physical world, in particular favoring purchases from smartphones. The digital trend is increasingly affecting the West, where technological development is advancing exponentially on the model of countries such as China and India: this is a new way of approaching social life that places the smartphone at the centre of lifestyle and contributes to increasingly reducing the distinction between Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B).

Today, the purchase of professional products and services requires immediacy and speed: the consumer is ready, but small and medium-sized businesses may find it difficult to offer what users require. On this front, acceleration is required to customize services and provide tailor-made solutions that simplify the online purchase process and allow customers to receive their orders more easily and as quickly as possible.

Customer care, sustainable and easily recyclable packaging become essential to facilitate the relationship between companies and the end customer: e-commerce increasingly shortens the distance between information and purchase, favoring the final click for the purchase of products.The MBE per e-commerce solutions are designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises during the growth process: whatever your sector, we help you to give your business a cutting edge, from the creation of the digital showcase to the management of shipments and orders received. Contact us to find the solution that best suits your needs.

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