Sales in Italy

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Quality and after sales service are very important factors when Italians make a purchasing decision. Consumers also like information on the product to be clear. If they can choose, they tend to prefer products "made in Italy"; they are less bothered to know if the material meets environmental criteria. Novelty is welcomed especially in the fashion sector.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
The index of household confidence is deteriorating. The Italians prefer consumption to saving, but high inflation has had a negative influence on their purchasing power.
Italian consumers are very demanding in terms of quality but less so regarding the frequency of special offers, loyalty programs, credit possibilities and days and times of opening.
Consumers Associations
ACU , The Italian Association for the consumer and users
ADOC , The Italian Association for the defense and orientation of the consumer
Main Advertising Agencies
Saatchi Advertising Agency

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
For a long time, Italian industries were not competitive enough, and this led the Italian government to set up import barriers. The Italian population is traditionally attached to local shops. Modern distribution made its appearance a few years ago with the rise of large international groups such as Auchan/Rinascente or Carrefour who took advantage of a relaxing of legislation concerning setting up business, made necessary by European harmonization.
In 2004, Italian retail trade represented 328.5 billion euros, a growth of 1.2% compared with 2003.
Market Shares
The leading distributor in Italy is the Coop Italia group which is based on a network of more than 1 000 outlets in Italy and which had 17.7% of market share in 2004. Carrefour Italia had 10% and Auchan/Rinascente 9.5%.
Generally speaking, foreign names represent 47% of hypermarkets. In 2004, there were 469 hypermarkets, 990 supermarkets, and 6 627 small supermarkets. The foodstuff distribution market is very concentrated as the leading 10 groups have 77% of market share.
However, there is an imbalance between the north and the south of the country, however: more than 50% of supermarkets and 65% of hypermarkets are concentrated in the north. As a result, the large groups will have to concentrate their efforts on the southern part of the country.
Organizations in the Retail Sector
Lega Coop

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Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Wassenaar arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of the European Union.
Member of the Eurozone.
Member of the European Economic Area which has guaranteed, since 1 January 1993, the free movement of most goods between European countries.
Multilateral and bilateral agreements with many countries but Italy is not part of all the agreements and unions to which the EU is a signatory.
Non Tariff Barriers
As it is a member of the European Union, Italy applies the Community regulations which are valid throughout the Union.

If the EU has quite a liberal foreign trade policy, there are a certain number of restrictions, especially at the level of agricultural products, ensuing from the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): applying compensations when importing and exporting agricultural products to favor the development of agriculture within the EU implies a certain number of systems to control and regulate goods entering EU territory.
Moreover, for sanitary reasons, with regards to Genetically Modified Organisms, if they are allowed in Europe, their presence must, for example, be systematically specified on packaging. Importing beef fed on hormones is also prohibited.
The principle of precaution is now more widely favored: in case of doubt, import is prohibited until the non- noxiousness of the goods is proved.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
While the principle of free movement of goods forms the internal part of the Customs Union, the CCT forms the external part as it enables uniform Customs duties to be applied to products from third party countries, whichever Member State is the country of destination. Duties for countries outside Europe are not very high, especially for industrial products (4.2% on average for the general tariff).

Customs Classification
Italy uses the harmonized system.
Import Procedures
Import procedures are subject to a declaration on-line or on paper. You will find further information on the Agenzia delle Dogane (Customs Agency) website.
Importing Samples
The inscription "no a la vente" (not for sale) is compulsory on commercial samples.
For Further Information
Italian Customs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of the Economy
Ministry of Economic Development
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in Italy on

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
The specialized port sector (containers) is in full expansion in Italy, someting that is proven by the presence of nine Italian ports in the ranking of the thirty main ports in the European Union, in terms of container traffic. The role of sea transport has been expanded in Italy and in trade inside the Community thanks to the project of "sea highways" in the framework of the development of the trans-European transport network.

Every year, 750 000 tonnes of freight transit via the two international airports of Roma Fiumicino and Milano Malpensa.

Goods transport by road represented 1.243 million tonnes in 2003.

The Italian rail network carries 87 million tonnes of goods every year in Italy.

Port of Genoa
Port of La Spezia
Port of Naples
Port of Livorno (in Italian)
Port of Ancona
Port of Brindisi
Port of Taranto
Port of Trieste
All Italian ports
Milan Airports
Rome Airports
Sea Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport
Air Transport Organizations
ANAMA (National association of air freight agents)
Ministry of Transport
Road Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport
Rail Transport Organizations
CESIFER, center for rail company safety certification (technical management of RFI)
Ministry of Transport

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The industrial sector represents 26.9% of Italian GDP.
Business Directories
The Yellow Pages
Guida Monaci
Business Italia
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
Association of producers of metal packaging (ANFIMA)
Italian association of steel constructors (ACAI)
National association of the gaz industry (ANIGAS)
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Portal for Italian Chambers of Commerce
Enterprises Federation
Union of SMEs
Italian confederation of SMEs (CONFAPI)
Find Sourcing Service Providers in Italy on

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