The pandemic was a key factor for the acceleration of e-commerce in Europe, which in 2020 arrived at a turnover of 757 billion euros (up +10% compared to the 690 billion euros of 2019). An important result, especially if you consider that before the healthcare emergency a good 70% of retailers and wholesalers were not set up for online sales.
This is what emerged from the data collected for the European E-commerce Report 2021 presented at Netcomm Forum Industries organised by Netcomm, the Italian Digital Consortium. The evolution underway is affecting three sectors in the Italian economy: Fashion&Lifestyle, Food&Grocery, and On-Line Health, which are all protagonists of an unparalleled evolution. At the same time, the new purchasing habits of consumers are destined to take root and continue over time: “If you consider that in 2020 alone, 1 out of 4 users undertook more online banking transactions, 1 out of 4 accessed healthcare services directly from their smartphones, and a good 2 out of 5 people increased the frequency of their online purchases, it’s easy to understand how the last year or so has put digital transformation under the spotlight, encouraging producers, retailers and the entire industry from wholesale to retail to start up new online digital channels for the adoption of new omnichannel business solutions, while helping SMEs access new markets, since in 2020 more than 20% of European consumers bought from a country different from the one where they currently reside”, declared Roberto Liscia, President of Netcomm.
If simplicity, speed and convenience see Italian consumers preferring online purchases over offline ones, sustainability, in all of its many facets, is another one of the key factors emerging as one of the requirements of e-shoppers. The study “Customer Journey of Fashion and Lifestyle products” published by Netcomm in collaboration with Vepee in fact highlights how 47% of the sample polled expect innovation from brands in a sustainable key in all relative phases concerning production and the subsequent online purchasing of the product. In particular, next to sustainable solutions in material choices and production, e-shoppers also look at the delivery and shipment methods, and the packaging, which must be recyclable and eco-friendly.
Even the digital evolution of services replies to the needs of sustainability. Technological innovation, which is important for 40% of those surveyed, translates into virtual fitting rooms, augmented reality, interactive in-store totems, and the possibility of accessing online contents inside the store (for example through the QR code), representing elements that are all increasingly important to Italian consumers. Innovation in logistics (32%), as well as trying the product on in the store and receiving it at home, click&collect, and the possibility of buying in one store and picking up in another, have become services that are by now essential.
“Italian consumers have fine-tuned their expectations with regards to fashion and lifestyle purchases. – declares Roberto Liscia – From all channels and at all times, they expect a quality service while shopping and today the data concerning satisfaction shows how online purchases stand out for their simplicity, speed, and overall level of satisfaction. The relevance of physical contact remains in any case fundamental, and companies are working also on this aspect of integrating physical elements into the virtual purchasing experience, for example through livestreaming commerce, which is already an important phenomenon in Asia and that we will soon hear mention of here in Italy”.