Data from the annual consumer price index, as compiled by Italy’s national statistics body Istat, has divulged what Italians have been spending their money on over the past year.
Average spending has hit a low with the so-called ‘shopping cart’ expenditure declining by 0.7% year-on-year. That’s a level not seen since August 1997, when the annual decrease was -0.8%.
Some items and services have increased in popularity despite an overall decline in buying.
Naturally, due to the pandemic, certain products such as surgical masks and hand gel feature highly on that list.
In fact, spending on health services and items has increased by 0.8% compared to the year before, making up 9.7% of the overall average outgoings.
Other, perhaps more surprising, spending trends have emerged too.
Electric scooter sharing programmes and electric charging points for cars have entered the family spending budget, according to the report.
Transport spending as a whole has declined by 2.2% compared to the previous year. Its share of overall spending is now 12.5%.
Other notable changes include an increase in the food and non-alcoholic beverages bill, up by 3.1% compared to last year, accounting for 19.2% of the overall household spend.
Housing, water, electricity and fuel are up by 1.2%, making 11.2% of the total share. Health care and living expenses, meanwhile, are up by 0.8%, creating an overall share of 9.7% of the total spend.
Spending on accommodation and food services, on the other hand, is down by 3.7% and recreation, entertainment and culture is down by 0.7%. That makes 8.9% and 7% of the overall spend respectively.
The survey measures the purchasing decisions on items in the areas of food, home and personal care. Even though average household spending is down, inflation is up overall, equal to 1.1%, which is an increase from 0.8% in March.
“In April, it is the acceleration of energy goods prices that drive the further growth of inflation,” explained Istat.
The Istat data was released at the same time as the confederation of businesses, Confcommercio, compiled statistics in collaboration with social and economic research centre Censis.
Together, they have analysed the impact of the pandemic on confidence, prospects and household consumption in their latest report.
The figures are pretty bleak, with a collapse in consumption equal to €1,831 per person in 2020. They noted an increase in savings of €82 billion, though – an effect of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.
Those are tied-up funds holding back economic recovery, they claimed.
According to the survey, citizens’ confidence in the near future is improving, but there’s still caution.
One in five families have already decided that they will not go on holiday this summer and almost half of families (47.4%) haven’t yet made up their minds.
Confcommercio chairman Carlo Sangalli said, “The pandemic is easing and the conditions are in place for a safe start. Businesses need more normality and certainty to be able to plan their activities.”
“Starting with more robust support, which has yet to arrive. We need to accelerate in order to recover losses and strengthen an economic growth that is still too weak,” he added.