Trade: 855.000 enterprises, -13.000 in comparison to 2009

Vice President of Unioncamere, Mario Pozza: The commercial sector is a complicated and varied system, widely present in the territory .

Economy - published on 27 September 2018

Roma, 26th September 2018 – A world of 855.000 enterprises, equal to 14,2% of the total and more than 2 Million employees. These are the figures regarding the
retail trade companies that have been presented by Unioncamere within the Audition in front of the Production Activities Commission of the Chamber in the field of the retailers
opening hours’ regulation.

“The commercial sector is a complicated and varied system, widely present in the territory”, has underlined the vice President of Unioncamere, Mario Pozza during his
speech. “The production base has been strong affected by the crisis that hit our Country 10 years ago and it is gradually turning, becoming organizational stronger and starting to benefit from
the digital opportunities”.

The figures analysis by the Business Register shows that, from 2009 to the present day, trade has lost almost 13.000 units. By contrast to the total of the enterprises that have
increased by 0,2%, the activities of such sector have decreased by 1,5%. The difficulties of the market and the drop in consumption have been borne in particular by small enterprises. Those with
less than 5 employees, in fact, have decreased by 2,4%, while those with more than 6 employees have increased by 21,7%.
The companies’ turnover analysis shows that, between 2010 and 2016, except for hyper- and supermarkets, some specialized stores, and petrol stations, all performances have been negative.
Territorially, the most significant decreases in companies’ number have been occurred in the Northeast regions, in particular Friuli Venezia Giulia, and in North West, in particular Piedmont. They
have affected several sectors, except for those connected to the e-commerce, electronic devices sale, itinerant trade and foodstuffs.
The average life of those companies is 11,6 years, somewhat below the average of the total of the enterprises. Turnover is rather marked in particular in the first three years: in 3 years closes
one company in 4, while in the overall economy the same ratio is 1 company in 5.
In almost 10 years, the retail trade sector has been characterized by relevant transformations. The first refers to the gradual reinforcement of the corporate structure, with a strong growth of
limited companies (+37.000 between 2009 and 2018, with an increase by 43,7%) and a significant reduction of partnerships (-25.000 and -15,3%) and individual enterprises (-26.000 and -4,1%).
Secondly, new sale forms are gradually spreading. The activities specialized in e-commerce, in fact, have more than tripled between 2009 and 2018, increasing at an average of 14% per year. Another
situation to be considered is the strong growth of the itinerant trade that increased by 7,9% between 2011 and 2018. This result is entirely connected to the spread of activities managed by
foreigners, while Italian peddlers have decreased by 13,7%.
The retail trade sector is widely distributed all over the Italian Country, and it concentrates in municipalities with more than 30.000 inhabitants (52,3% – 447.000 units). One company in 6 is
present in municipalities with more than 500.000 inhabitants, where it concentrates 12,2% of the Italian population. In the last 7 years, right the bigger municipalities have registered the
stronger increase of retail trade companies (+5,8%), in the face of small increases or reductions in the other municipalities sizes.
One retail trade company in 4, moreover, operates in the 95 most touristic municipalities (those that collect more than 50% of the tourists visiting Italy). Too, such realities have experienced a
strong increase of the business fabric between 2011 and 2018 (+3,6%), the opposite trend of the retail trade companies that are located in municipalities with lower touristic presence (-3,8%).

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