Consumption in Italy, in the last 30 years the boom in technology and the “flop” of foodstuffs. Here’s what’s happening in 2023


By John

It is technology, with PCs and audiovisual and multimedia products, but above all telephones, that has marked a real boom in Italian consumption over the last 30 years: the former, with an increase in per capita spending in real terms of 786%, the latter with an increase of as much as 5,339%; strong growth, within the leisure sector, also for recreational and cultural services (+93%); home meals are down (-11.2%), furniture and household appliances (-5.1%) and electricity and gas consumption (-12.2%), also thanks to the reduction of waste and energy saving; as regards overall consumption, in 2022 – with 20,810 euros per capita – household spending is still lower than the levels of 2019 (20,914 euros) and in 2024 the peak levels of 2007 will not be recovered (21,365 euros against 21,569 euros ); 2023, however, can be defined as the year of return to normal thanks above all to the substantial contribution of the tourism sector which, compared to last year, records substantial increases for travel, holidays and hotels (+23.6%), services recreational and cultural (+9.7%), bars and restaurants (+8%). Pending the recovery of export manufacturing, these are the pillars of the tertiary market from which greater economic growth can derive, hopefully supported also by reforms and investments of the PNRR.
These, in summary, are the main results that emerge from an analysis by the Confcommercio Research Office on Italian household consumption between 1995 and 2023.

Although growing, consumption will not return to 2019 levels at the end of 2023 and will remain far from the 2007 peak, even on average in 2024. Except for leisure, technology and travel and hotels, no macro-function will be able to return in 2023 , at 2019 per capita spending levels. In real terms, electricity, gas and other fuels, furniture and appliances, and food consumed at home show lower real expenditures than nearly thirty years earlier.
Overall, however, the current year looks like the real return to normality in many respects. The contribution of tourism is clearly visible: from recreational and cultural services (+9.7%) to hotels and travel (+23.6%), up to consumption away from home in public establishments (+8%). These are the pillars of potential economic growth, generated precisely by the tertiary market, pending a recovery in export manufacturing.