The choice of the e-commerce may represent a key factor on employment and on the growth of firms’s revenues in our country, above all in a period of crisis and reorganisation.
What can we tell about this continuously growing trend?
As early as 2019 more than one third (34%) of the total capital companies in Italy has been involved in the valuable network of the e-commerce and the digital retail and over 46% of the revenue of this eco-system is focused in the North-West (40% in Lombardy). But the sector linked to the online shopping in Italy develops in this non-ordinary 2020 an increase in revenues for an amount of 3.5 billions of Euros (+6,3% on 2019).
These are the data gathered from the research conducted by The European House – Ambrosetti for Netcomm, that investigates for the first time the impact of the e-commerce value network on employment and the growth in revenue of companies in our country.
E-commerce development: the differentiating factor
Already in 2019 as many as 687 thousands of enteprises were involved in the network of e-commerce, with over 290 thousand affected workers, not only in the realization of e-commerce websites but also in the SEO optimization for the contents demanded by firms. According to the analysis, the e-commerce value network is ranked third among the 99 Italian economic activities by impact on the turnover of the private sector in 2019, with a weight of 19.2% on the growth in revenue of the total economic activities of our country. Furthermore, during the same year, the Net impacted deeply on the employment growth of Italian enterprises, with a contribution of 6,7% of the total, ranking, also in this case, third among the economic sectors for variation in the impact on Italian employment.
It is therefore not surprising that 70% of merchants, operators offering products and services, and brand owners, distributors of branded products that have activated strategies and direct online sales channels, plan to strengthen their workforce for the e-commerce channel, increasing a sector employment that already during the last year, before the pandemic, counted over 290 thousand workers in our country.
E-commerce and digital transformation: a decisive relationship for growth
To understand better the contribution of the e-commerce and digital retail to development and to digital transformation, suffice it to say how e-commerce is among the top 10 sectors in Italy for the largest increase in revenue per employee between 2015 and 2019. A sector that, in its multiple forms, activates development and employment and involves numerous sectors and operators, both in the online sales phase and in further pre and after-sales services to support the entire supply chain: a valuable network that contributes significantly to the economic and productive development of our country and can mark a decisive step for increasing the competitiveness of companies at the international level, especially in times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
e-Commerce was one of the sectors that increased its relative weight more on the total revenue of Italian companies with a growth of 19.2%. The most decisive growth was in the chemical manufacturing sector (+32.8%), retail trade (+18.1%), the manufacture of NCA materials and equipment (+17.8%) and catering (+9.2%). Companies in the e-commerce value network account for 34% of total capital companies in Italy (1.9 million).
Restart and innovation: solutions and great margins for Sicily
In order to continue to support the growth of this sector, it is necessary to close the gap with regard to the main markets in Europe. Already in our country, there are clear cleavages: 21% of enterprises already leaning towards e-commerce are located in Lombardy, 16.8% in Lazio, 9.6% in Campania, 7.7% in Emilia-Romagna, 7.6% in Veneto, 7.0% in Tuscany, 5.4% in Sicily. At the top of the revenue ranking we always find Lombardy with 22.2 billion Euros, while Sicily, the third region of Italy by population, still values for only 1.4 billion Euros.
That is why it is essential to act on the digitalisation of enterprises: in 2020, in the face of a reduction in tourism, a loss was verified in the shopping tourism trade of 5.7 billion Euros (75% of the total), due to the sharp decrease in foreign tourists (-58%). To cope with the decline in consumption it is possible, for example, to exploit the digital channel to promote Made in Italy products in the world, reducing the gap caused by the Covid-19 crisis and at the same time creating a basis of interest for foreign tourists who are willing to travel to Italy at the end of the pandemic. One possible solution is to encourage a growing integration of the tourism promotion websites of the territories (municipalities, provinces, regions) and typical local productions with digital platforms that allow the visitor to carry out the online shopping experience.
We’ve seen how e-commerce is a trend that businesses, and not only, can no longer ignore. In a constantly changing environment like the current one, it is therefore essential for companies to rely on partners who are able to lead in the right direction.