Being a successful affiliate of

One of the things our affiliates regularly ask us for is more information about the different markets eBay operates in globally. In particular, publishers ask us about the unique features each country has that they should be aware of when setting up sites for users in those countries. This post gives an introduction to e-commerce in Italy and an overview of, as well as some tips on how to be a successful publisher on eBay's affiliate program in Italy. E-commerce in Italy

There are approximately 20 million internet users in Italy, about a third of the country’s population. Of this number, 5.6 million have made at least one purchase online (survey netcomm GfK Eurisko, May2008). During 2008, e-commerce in Italy had an estimated value of €6.4 billion (approx $8.2 billion). Although e-commerce in Italy is increasing year on year, the market still lags behind the largest European countries such as the UK, Germany and France, both in terms of online sales and the number of online users.

Unfortunately, Italy did not escape the global financial crisis and as in many other countries, the recession has strongly influenced the purchasing behaviour of users:

  • Italians are now more sensitive to price, creating an opportunity for publishers to develop sites which cater to savvy shoppers – such as shopping comparison, loyalty and cashback sites.
  • The increased importance of price to Italian consumers also means that they are increasingly looking for items from last season, or scouring second-hand websites to get a better deal.


The credit card remains the preferred way to pay online, with about 70% of online payments using this method. For large purchases, consumer credit (9% of sales) is increasingly popular, while PayPal (11%) is also growing quickly due to its convenience for consumers and small to medium sized merchants. Cash on delivery (8%) is declining in popularity because of the high tariffs charged by express couriers.

eBay in Italy

Key information about

  • recently celebrated its ninth birthday, having launched on 15th January, 2001.
  • In September 2007, eBay reached the milestone of having 5 million registered users.
  • In December 2009, eBay was the most popular ecommerce site in Italy, with over 6.6 million visitors and more than 700 million page views (Source: Nielsen Net Ratings, December 2009).
  • There are more than 3,000,000 listings on the site, spanning more than 6,700 categories.

Recent changes on

In recent years, eBay has made a number of enhancements to the site in order to improve the service it offers both buyers and sellers. It is important to be aware of these aspects of the site before beginning to promote it.

  • Wide range of products across multiple listing formats: With more than 3 million listings across a wide variety of categories, offers a great range of inventory whatever buyers are looking for. To enhance this selection of items further, in September 2009 eBay launched eBay Anunci, which allows sellers to create Classified ads for the items they want to sell. Along with the Auction and Buy It Now listing formats common across eBay platforms around the world, eBay Anunci offers Italian consumers unparalleled choice and value, however they want to shop.
  • Professional sellers: Italian users are very careful about the reputation, trustworthiness and reliability of the sellers from whom they are buying products. In order to meet the expectations of their buyers, eBay have invested significantly in the past few years to bring more professional sellers with higher service standards onto the Italian site.
  • PayPal Buyer protection: Today there are over 3 million PayPal accounts in Italy, a figure which is growing rapidly as more and more eBay sellers offer PayPal as a payment method. eBay now offers buyer protection for users on eBay who buy through PayPal. Buyers who pay with PayPal are protected for the full value of their purchase, including shipping costs.

Useful information on becoming a successful publisher for

As with any other website, to become a successful publisher for you need to understand the consumers you are trying to attract. In order to help with this, below are some interesting snippets of information which may come in useful when deciding which categories and products to promote to Italian users.

  • Popular categories: The three most popular categories on are: Mobile & Home Phones; Clothing, Shoes and Accessories; and Computing
  • Popular search terms: Some of the keywords used most often to search for products on the site are: Nokia; jackets; parkas; mobile phone; bags; sweatshirts; shoes; boots; Apple iPhone; PS3 Games
  • Seasonality: While online sales in most countries decrease during the summer, in Italy this trend is even more pronounced, particularly in July and August. Although traffic and total number of conversions drop during this period, we have found that conversion rate from click to purchase remains pretty stable. In addition, buying traffic is often cheaper during the summer because the demand for advertising is lower – giving you the possibility of higher margins during this period.

The eBay Partner Network Team