The 5 years’ worth of digital progress of Italy: changes and consumers behaviours caused by the Coronavirus

It is pretty clear that the present coronavirus situation is changing the way of doing business in Italy, as well as the aspirations and behaviours of Italian consumers. And many of these changes are expected to remain in the post-coronavirus reality.

According to a survey of BVA Doxa, only 3 out of 10 Italians think that, at the end of the pandemic, everyone will return to a situation similar to the pre-coronavirus one. The remaining 57% of Italians expects great changes, even an almost entirely “new” world.

Part of these changes are certainly related to the digitalisation process of the country. Only in the first month of pandemic, Italy has made a 5 years’ worth of digital progress, towards a more digital society.

According to a Netcomm research, 75% of Italian people who bought online in March 2020, had never done it before. The new users made e-commerce purchases, activated new platforms of all kinds, subscribed to digital media, and used delivery services.

According to Nielsen, online sales of consumer products have increased by more than 80% since the end of February, year-over-year. The same researches report that online spending increased by 162% in the third week of lockdown only. Such data would have been even higher, without the logistics difficulties experienced in managing the jump in sales volumes.

Despite online purchases, 90% of Italians still goes outside to do groceries. That leaves 10% of Italians who exclusively do online shopping and groceries. Among them, 61% started after the coronavirus emergency, while 32% did groceries online already before the crisis, and now does it more often. Only 7% already did it before, with the same frequency.

Since restaurants and public places are still closed, the consumption of dishes entirely prepared at home increases by 52%. Home food-deliveries also increase, while fewer Italians consume ready-made dishes or meals that only need to be heated up.

Italians also increase the use of digital technologies to manage personal finances, with a +35% in the use of credit cards, a +29% of Internet banking and a +25% of bank apps for smartphones. Italians are going less often to bank branches (-30%).

Moreover, during the Covid-19 emergency, almost half of the active population started to work at home. And smart workers are now getting used to these new ways of working.

Generally, it has been observed that today consumers pay more and more attention to how companies behave during the Covid-19 emergency and crisis: 69% of Italians read positive comments on companies’ contributions, while less people react negatively on social medias for companies’ choices or behaviours.

In a post-emergency scenario, 57% Italians are more likely to buy more products and services coming from local and Italian companies. 48% of Italians are expected to buy products and services from companies that acted responsibly during the emergency. Moreover, 47% will be more careful to prevent diseases and 43% will pay more attention to cleaning and sanitising rooms, clothes, and objects.

Finally, the main post-lockdown activities that Italians plan to do are the following: small out-of-town escapes and trips (48% of the population); happy hours, lunches and dinners (39% – 33% of them outside), organising travels and holidays (38%, mainly in Italy), visiting museums, or going to movies (30%), shopping (27%), sports (24%), or visiting parks and doing outside activities (19%).


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The BVA Doxa surveys are available at the following links: LINK 1, LINK 2.

For the Netcomm surveys and researches visit: https://www.consorzionetcomm.it

For the Nielsen surveys and researches visit: https://www.nielsen.com/it/it/