Coop Report 2018 - Italy - delays and differences

MICHELE CAPRINI
07/09/2018
In brief
Presented to the press yesterday in Milan, the research highlights the contradictions of the Italian market compared to international trends.
The Coop Report published annually is an essential reference for Italian distribution and for the understanding of the actual situation of country, in an international context.

Presented to the press yesterday at the Terrazza Martini in Milan, the Coop Report 2018 includes five areas of investigation. In order: the economic context, families, consumption, wholesale and retail consumption.

As a whole, the research gives rise to more negative observations than the 2017 edition.  Global economic growth highlights its limits with regard to the unsustainable nature of pressure on the environment and the escalation of the social divide between different areas of the world and, above all, within them.

The weak and asymmetric (+0.6% in value, with an inflation of 1.1%) Italian “mini-upturn” is the local demonstration. Despite five years of positive GDP, Italy is still at the bottom of European consumption. The crisis has affected the savings of our fellow countrymen: in the last decade, global savings have gone down from 120 billion to 70.

According to Marco Pedroni, president of Coop Italia, “The mini-upturn we were experiencing seems to have stopped. Sales in the first eight months of 2018 fell by 0.8% as a result of the uncertainty in the country that is acting as a brake”. Even stronger worries, moreover, have been expressed in recent days by Confesercenti.

Consumption has not recovered the ground lost since 2010: it is still down 2.2% in comparison to + 12.7% in Germany, + 10.2% in France and the slight activity in Spain. The Coop Report 2018 shows that Italians spend an average of 11,600 euros each: 200 euros less than the French, 2,200 less than the Germans and 10,000 less than the Americans.

In 2017, 19% of spending went on food and drink, the maximum level in the last decade, but the figure represents a great contradiction. In the first half of 2018, the food expenditure of low-income households fell by 4% compared to last year. The expenditure of the 20% of the wealthiest households in the country, on the other hand, increased by 3%.

A gap in consumption between North and South also continues to exist, for example a family in Trentino spends an average of 17 thousand euros more per year than a family in Calabria.

Looking at the shopping basket, in the first half of 2018 sales of ORGANIC products reached 2 billion euros, compared to 3.6 last year.

So-called “ready meals” have grown by 6%, but it is home delivery of food that provides the real boost in the 2018 Coop Report. In just the first three months of 2018, about 3.5 million Italians received home delivery, an increase of 80% compared to 2017. Food online also recorded a significant increase: 34% in the first six months of the year.

More attention is being paid to the problem of plastic (+14) and to biodegradable items (+6%). This consumption trend is even more evident in the case of household detergents. The product category is down (-0.8%), but the “green” option shows an increase in value of 8.8%. Ecological and responsible products reached 2 billion euros in sales in the first half of 2018 (compared to 3.6 for the whole of 2017).

Finally, the document also considers the digital propensities of the country. One Italian in three recognises that they have become addicted to their smartphone (the market continues to grow: + 3.6%, one percentage point higher than the European average). With regard to social media, Whatsapp surpasses Facebook (83 percentage points of daily users against 69).