Compared to a year ago, when 59% of Italians still preferred to shop at the point of sale and 41% opted for e-commerce, there is now a reversal in the trend, accelerated by the health emergency, with over half (52%) of those surveyed choosing to shop online rather than in shop (48%). This is what emerges from the November Findomestic Monthly Observatory survey, carried out by the BNP Paribas group's consumer credit company in collaboration with Eumetra.
From last March to the present day, 6 Italians out of 10, “forced“ by the lockdown and the continuation of the Covid-19 emergency, have purchased online at least one product or service that they had never bought online before. 25% took their mouse and keyboard to do their first supermarket shopping online, 10% bought small electrical appliances and computer products. 9% bought DIY products for the first time on the digital channel and 8% bought phones and accessories.
Preferred purchasing channels
In general, Italian consumers choose to buy online because the prices are cheaper, according to 62% of those interviewed, because of the wide range of products on offer (47%), because of the convenience and ease of the service (...), but also because it avoids the risk of infection (26%). Those who, on the other hand, prefer to go to the point of sale want to see the product “in person“ (68%), like to interact with the sales staff (23%) and fear that the product purchased online does not meet expectations (21%).
While 70% have become accustomed to the new procedures and return to a normal experience of visiting the shop, 63% do not deny the loss of pleasantness and 53% believe that the risk of infection continues to be felt at the point of sale. This is another reason why 29% say they now shop online more than they did before March, 69% as much as before March and only 8% less than before.
Italians' sentiment and the consequences on purchases
The Findomestic Observatory survey also examines the impact of the Covid-19 emergency in the lives of Italians and its consequences from an economic point of view.
The “second wave“ of contagions has increased Italians' concern for the country's economy and their income, and as a result their purchasing intentions have dropped (-4.5%) compared to September.
The worsening of sentiment in fact has an impact on consumer attitude: among those who think that contagions will continue to rise (57% of the sample), almost half (40%) say that, if the contagion trend does not reverse, they will postpone purchases that are not strictly necessary. Confirming the influence that the deterioration in the climate of confidence caused by this “second wave“ could have on consumption, the Findomestic Observatory notes an average drop in purchase intentions of 4.5% compared to September. However, this is a contained drop that keeps most of the monitored markets at pre-Covid levels.
A net drop for new cars that marks a -26.3%, while the energy efficiency sector bucks the trend with +11.7% for photovoltaic systems, +2.3% for solar thermal systems, +9.2% for stoves and boilers. In October, in the home sector, the negative sign dominates: the intention to buy a house has decreased by -16,3%, the intention to buy furniture by -2%. The situation of uncertainty also affects the household appliances sector, which, although less than other sectors, shows a decline in purchases: -3.6% for small appliances, -2.2% for large appliances. Limited drops in purchase intentions also in the IT (-4.7% for PCs, -2% for tablets) and telephony (-1.4%) sectors.