UnionPay International, one of the best known and utilized card payment system on a global scale, has concluded last month an agreement with GestPay, the most regarded Italian platform for the acceptance and management of online payments, adopted by many Italian-based e-commerce portals.

In order to understand the importance and the potentiality of such agreement for the Italian e-commerce, it is worth noting that the UnionPay system boasts more than six billion active cards and is ranked first on a global scale as for number of users, with a coverage of over 51 million merchants and 2, 57 million ATM cash machines. More than ten million e-commerce operators outside China accept payments via UnionPay cards, among which 2,3 million are based in Europe.

Therefore, Italian enterprises offering their products online – from the wine producer to the small artisan – may now provide their customers with a payment system that addresses Eastern markets demands, in particular the Chinese one. Chinese market, as estimated by the “export observatory” of the Polytechnic University of Milan in a recent report, already registered, at the end of the year 2016, more than 400 million users purchasing goods online, for a total value of more than 30 billion euros of good imported through e-commerce. Moreover, during 2017, on the total retail purchases in China, 15-20% were made on-line.

The above-mentioned “export observatory”, during a conference held in Milan on March 22, 2018, reported interesting data on the growth of the Italian export of consumer goods through e-commerce. In particular, such growth is steady and reached in 2017 a total value of 9,2 billion euros, with an increase of 1,7 billion euros compared to the year 2016 (+23%). The most important sector for “digital export” is Fashion (textiles, clothing, accessories), which is worth about 6 billion euros and collects 66% of the total online export of consumer goods. The second position is held by the food sector, which represents 15% of the total e-commerce export with a total value of 1,38 million euros, followed by the furniture industry, which represents 7% of the “digital export” volume, with an amount of 644 million euros.

Riccardo Mangiaracina, Director of the Export Observatory, says that “the sales through digital channels are growing at a steady rate, even if their incidence on the overall amount of export is limited and Italian companies confirm a traditional approach towards export. There are wide margins for improvement and great opportunities to be seized by using digital instruments to access international markets and to support the growth of Italian export. The process of digital internationalization requires a careful and appropriate planning, including the identification of the most suitable export model for the company involved and the analysis of the legal aspects, of the available instruments, and of the targeted market’s customers”.

The new agreement is likely to further boost the development of the Italian E-commerce sector and digital export.

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