Digital Export: A Long Road Ahead!


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Italian export of consumer goods through digital channels grew in double figures also in 2018, reaching a total value of 10.3 billion Euro (+12%). But despite the upward trend, the overall value of digital Export is still marginal compared to total, amounting to 7% of all consumer goods exports (149 billion Euro) and only just over 2% if total exports are taken into consideration (463 billion). The most important sector is still Fashion, followed by Food and Furniture. Digital B2b export is growing at a much slower rate than consumer goods export: + 1.5% in 2018, with an overall value of 132 billion Euro. Overall, it has a much higher impact on the total amount of online and offline export, equal to 28.5%. The most digitalised supply chains are in the automotive, textiles, clothing and the mechanics sectors, this being the leading exports sector overall.
In 2018, China confirms itself as the first B2c e-Commerce market in the world, reaching a value of 1,000 billion Euro, about 40% of the global market. A highly concentrated market that has been dominated by big local players for years, with the top three operators covers 90% of sales. Online cross border sales towards China have also continued in the growth path registered over recent years. However, exporting to China is not that simple: businesses must be able to support large investments and cover high costs to establish a presence on Chinese e-Commerce platforms. It is also necessary to offer a high-value product with a high level of service.
The delay in adopting digital export solutions is particularly evident in SMBs, among which there is a strong preference for traditional channels: 80% of those businesses surveyed export goods online, but always combined with offline tools, and 56% claims that e-Commerce represents only a marginal share of the turnover produced abroad.

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