Italian Retail Sector Set For Moderate Growth This Year, Study Finds

By Branislav Pekic
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Italian Retail Sector Set For Moderate Growth This Year, Study Finds

Italy is unlikely to see significant growth in consumer spend in 2020, estimated at 0.4%, with equally modest GDP growth forecast.

However, the modern retail sector is likely to see growth of 1.4% for the year, following a positive 2019.

The findings are according to the annual Coop-Nomisma end-of-year survey and the 2020 forecasts of the Coop Report.

Retail Performance

According to the study, the Italian large-scale retail sector posted 1.5% growth in sales in 2019, thanks to an improved performance in the south of the country (+0.9% compared to -0.6% in 2018) and a return to positive sales for fresh variable weight products (+1.6% compared to -3.0% in 2018).

Last year, the sales network (in square metres) for supermarkets grew by approximately 0.5%, while discounters grew by 3.5% – similar growth rates are expected in 2020.


For hypermarkets, however, a slight decline in the size of the sales network (-0.6% as of the end of 2019), is compensated by the positive growth for other store formats.

A slight increase of prices (+1%) is expected in 2020, compared to about 0.5% growth recorded in 2019.

Online Growth

While 2020 should be a positive year for the traditional retail sector, the e-commerce channel is expected to continue to outperform the market quite considerably.

Last year, online food purchases grew by 26% compared to 2018, taking close to a 2.5% share of the total grocery market. Further growth of 30% is expected for the online channel in 2020.


Consumption Trends

Also, thanks to the increased popularity of the e-commerce and meal delivery segments, food expenditure forecasts are strong for at-home consumption, which is expected to grow by 12% this year. The meal delivery market is poised for double-digit growth, driven by increased adoption among younger consumers.

Out-of-home consumption is expected to see a moderate decline as a result, and is forecast to drop by 3%.

Italian consumers are also likely to spend more on food products that mirror a healthy and quality diet and/or traditional preparation methods (+30%), to the detriment of fast food (-22%), red meat (-20%) and ready meals (-20%).

At the same time, Italians expect to increase consumption of wholemeal products, alternative cereals, white meat and legumes (organic), as well as ethnic, vegan, gluten and lactose-free products, although growth will be more reduced.


Green Issues

In terms of environmental sustainability, around two thirds of Italian consumers (65%) say they intend to use less plastic in 2020, while 64% intend to waste less, and 63% intend to walk more on foot.

In terms of the overall economy, 85% of respondents said that they are hopeful for better economic growth in the coming year, however they are also aware that the impact of increased taxation could have a negative effect on their personal finances.

© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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