In this latest installment of PYMNTS’ five-part series on digital engagement in the European Union, the spotlight is on Italy, one of the EU-5 countries (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain) surveyed in the “Benchmarking The World’s Digital Transformation” report.
Read the report: Benchmarking World’s Digital Transformation
Based on the ConnectedEconomy™ (CE) Index, a benchmarking tool used in the report to measure the progress of the world’s digital transformation, Italy made the second-lowest progress among the EU-5 with a CE Index score of 24.6, behind Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.
See Part 1: Benchmarking the EU’s Digital Engagement: Spain
See Part 2: Benchmarking the EU’s Digital Engagement: the Netherlands
See Part 3: Benchmarking the EU’s Digital Engagement: Germany
Although Italy scored higher than France in the CE Index, it was the least well connected of all the European countries included in the report, with 76.1% of Italians having regular access to the internet and 70% reporting owning a smartphone.
Globally, only Brazil — one of the 11 countries included in the study — has lower internet coverage than Italy, but the latter’s smartphone ownership remains the lowest among all 11 countries surveyed.
Of the remaining population, 31.7% reported a low level of digital engagement, 29.7% a medium level and 14.7% a high level.
Compared to its European counterparts, Italy’s engagement distribution is most similar to that found in Germany. The main difference between the two countries is that only 10.2% of German survey respondents said they had no access to the internet compared to Italy’s 23.9%, while a much higher share of the population (43.5%) reported a low engagement level.
Regarding the generational breakdown of the CE Index scores, Italy follows the pattern of all other European countries, with digital engagement starting highest among Gen Z and then declining with each older generation.
The Gen Z group (18-25 years) scored a CE Index of 36, millennials (26-41 years) scored 34, bridge millennials (34-43 years) scored 30, and Gen Xs (42-57 years) scored 24. As in the Netherlands, Germany and France, a drop in engagement levels can be observed among Italians in the 58+ age group, which has a CE Index score of 17.
In comparison, Singapore, Spain and Brazil were the only countries to have recorded a score higher than 20 in this age group.
When it comes to shopping online, as is the case in all countries except the Netherlands and Germany, Italians show a preference for card payments, which accounted for 45.5% of all online transactions.
A close second, mobile-based payment methods, take a 42.1% share, showing that Italy is only behind Germany in terms of preference for this online payment method. Finally, bank transfers made up 11.1%, and buy now, pay later (BNPL) made up 1.0% of all online payments.
Regarding in-store shopping, 31.7% of people in the country use cash for transactions. Although this is relatively high, it isn’t much higher than what’s observed in Spain and Japan and is lower than the 37.9% of German in-store transactions that are cash-based.
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