Amazon entered Italy in 2010: its first sale in the country was a children's book. But the company had only muted success over the next decade.

Fewer than 40 percent of Italian shopped online last year, compared with 87 percent in Britain and 79 percent in Germany, according to Eurostat, a European Union government statistics group. 

Amazon was hampered in Italy by a lack of widespread broadband and poor roads for delivering packages, especially in the south.

Italy has the oldest population in Europe and many people are wary of providing their financial details online. E-commerce accounts for only 8 percent of total retail spending in the country.

''There were some structural issues that we had to face,'' said Mariangela Marseglia, Amazon's country manager for Italy. ''Unfortunately, our country was and still is one of those where technological understanding and tech culture is low.''

The turning point was the pandemic. Mr. Parma said 75 percent of Italians shopped online during the lockdown. total online sales are estimated to grow 26 percent to a record 22.7 billion euros this year, according to researchers from Polytechnic University of Milan.

Netcomm, an Italian retail consortium, called it a ''10-year evolutionary leap,'' with more than two million Italians trying e-commerce for the first time between January and May.

Hurdles remain for Amazon. Small and midsize businesses are an integral part of Italian society. They make up roughly 67 percent of the economy, excluding finance, and about 75 percent of employment, figures that are higher than E.U. averages, according to E.U. statistics.

In Gragnano, a hilltop town near the Amalfi Coast with a 500-year history of pasta manufacturing, Ciro Moccia, the owner of La Fabbrica della pasta, said Amazon was a ''dangerous'' monopoly that could destroy businesses like his that rely on conveying the quality of a product.

But during the lockdown his company had no choice but to sell on Amazon after many retail stores closed. Standing above the family's factory recently, where semolina flour was mixed with spring water and pressed into 140 different pasta stripes, Mr. Moccia said, ''I am very worried''.

His son, Mario, 24, who tried for years to get his father to sell more online, said he saw it as an opportunity. ''If you are not on Amazon, you don't have the same visibility,'' he said.

The honor and serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Amazon and Operations, continues.


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