RealTime IT News

E-Commerce Purchases Up 300 Percent In Italy

E-commerce in Italy is growing at a rate of 300 percent annually, according to a study presented by the Bocconi University in Milan.

In the last year, Internet sales in the Mediterranean peninsula reached 400,000 individual purchases, compared to 100,000 during the previous year.

The study pointed out that even over the Net, Italians maintained their habit of shopping for brand names as well as "Made in Italy" products.

"Shoppers continue to search for brands they know and (though numbers have increased) the Italian public is still uncertain when it comes to 'stores' that exist only in a virtual world," explained Andreina Mandella, coordinator of the Bocconi research.

Branding is difficult for many small companies that lack the resources to market their site on a large scale, a common activity for larger, internationally-known producers of products sold via the Internet.

The Bocconi project also pointed out a distinct difference in the online buying habits between Italians in the north and south. Over two-thirds of all e-commerce purchases came from the north, according to the survey.

One reason for this territorial difference is the advancement in technology caused by the industrialized north, compared to the large agricultural communities of the south. Another factor is the increased number of credit card holders in the areas of Milan, Turin, and Florence, when matched against cities like Catania, in Sicily.

According to the research, overall usage of Internet in Italy is also up. An average of 5 million people use the Internet, though only 2 million are considered daily users. The number of ISPs has also risen in the past twelve months. At the onset of 1998, for example, there were just over 100 registered ISPs in Italy. Today that number is nearly 1,000.