In Italy, food e-commerce is growing into double digits and is an opportunity for all companies, including international ones, that want to enter this market.
After the extraordinary boom in 2020 (+146%), e-commerce in the large-scale retail sector will register further growth of 23.5% in 2021, reaching 1.8 billion euro in total sales, equivalent to 2.5% of the turnover of the entire FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) sector, i.e., grocery and packaged food. This is according to data from Netcomm's Digital FMCG Observatory in collaboration with NielsenIQ.
According to the Observatory, along with convenience (time-saving) and personalization, healthy food is one of the three key words of this new wave. In fact, these are products that appeal to the ideal e-commerce customer: young, medium to high-spending capacity, attentive to features such as Italian and free-from or organic, who find e-commerce an elective channel. For example, in 2021, Organic had a higher weight in the online (6.7%) than in the physical world (3.6%).
A showcase for SMEs
"The digital consumer is looking for efficiency, but also for an increasingly personalized, simple and intuitive experience," comments Roberto Liscia, president of Netcomm. "Digital complements the physical by taking on a key role throughout the buying journey, from information gathering and comparison, to after-sales support and review activity. For 75% of respondents, the Internet is the main source for seeking information about products and services, and for 69 percent for discovering new brands."
In addition, the weight of so-called small brands - which are very numerous in the Food & Beverage sector-is higher online than offline: 29% vs. 19% in the food grocery segment; 30% vs. 20% in the beverage category. The new growth phase of e-commerce is thus emerging as a major opportunity for industry companies of all sizes, including international ones that want to enter the Italian market.