• Confesercenti: consumption drops in the first half, -1,879 euros per family
  • Istat, consumer and business confidence is rising again. Consumption is falling, the race for savings
  • Inflation, in Italy an increase of 0.1 on a monthly basis and a decrease of 0.2 on an annual basis


June 30, 2020 After the health emergency, over 90% of Italian bookstores reported a worsening of the economic trend of their business due to the outbreak of the pandemic and over 84% are in difficulty in being able to meet their financial needs as pay its employees, provide bills and rents, bear contribution and tax charges. The alarm was launched by the first Ali Confcommercio Observatory on bookstores in Italy presented today and which investigates a sector of 3,670 businesses and over 11,000 employees.

The hardest moments of the post Covid crisis for Italian bookstores, reads the report of the first Ali Confcommercio Observatory, are close to summer: over 70% of bookstores said they have adopted layoffs and 60% of businesses has reduced or plans to reduce its staff, with a drop already recorded between December 2019 and April 2020 of -6.6% and a forecast for July 2020 of -18%. "If they do not receive non-repayable credit - complains L'Osservatorio - many exercises and many jobs will be at risk".

Positive note, despite the critical issues, during the health emergency, some bookstores resorted to digital evolution: 27% started using or intensified the use of electronic commerce and 86.1% of these believe that solutions adopted during the pandemic could become permanent.

According to the study, about 25% of the bookstores are located in the North West, 18% in the North East, 26% in the Center and 31% in Southern Italy. Lazio, Lombardy and Piedmont are the top three regions by number of bookstores in Italy. In 2012 there were 3,901 bookstores in Italy, today there are 3,670: there has therefore been a decrease of 231 bookstores over the past five years.

The bookstores employ over 11 thousand workers in Italy (of which 42.7% work in companies with a size class greater than nine employees). Among those employed in bookstores, 39.2% operate in the North West, 19.9% ​​in the North East, 23.5% in the Center and 17.4% in the South. 

According to the survey, the bookstores they can count on a trusted clientele: out of the total customers who have purchased at least one item in the library over the past year, almost seven out of ten are people who belong to the store's historical clientele. Six out of ten bookstores believe that the figure of the bookseller is the real strength of the bookstore for its ability to act as a consultant to the consumer, recommend books and spread culture. Among the bookstores that believe that the figure of the bookseller is the real point strength of the bookstore, 95.5% believe that their bookstore is able to translate this presence into an economic advantage.

Independent bookstores in difficulty regarding the assortment of books: 62.8% are unable to make available to consumers an updated assortment. Of the total operating costs that independent bookshops have incurred over the past year, 57.4% were for "incompressible expenses" (eg rents and utilities). The figure worsened further due to the pandemic. Five out of ten independent bookstores used distributors to stock books (50.1%), 25.7% of wholesalers, only 5.3% from online distributors.   

Among the channels of book distribution which bookstores suffer most from competition, electronic commerce is the most feared one. Bookstores that suffer most from e-commerce competition mainly complain of the absence of market and competition regulation.