Press Release

NIQ’s Retail Spend Consumer Barometer: Italian households spent €45.8 billion on consumer goods in the first quarter of 2024

Press Release

NIQ’s Retail Spend Consumer Barometer: Italian households spent €45.8 billion on consumer goods in the first quarter of 2024

Milan, Italy – May 16, 2024. In Italy, consumer spending on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and technological and durable goods (T&D), in the first three months of 2024 recorded a slight increase in sales of 0.7 percent compared to the same period in 2023, registering total sales of 45.8 billion euros. The trend was driven by changes in the consumption choices of Italians, and the deceleration – compared to 2023 – appears most evident on non-food, so-called non-food goods, while for the T&D sector, the slowdown in demand affects all major sectors.   

The NIQ Retail Spend Barometer combines data from NIQ and GfK to measure the turnover of FMCG, technology and durable goods purchased in stores in Italy.  
The NIQ Retail Spend Barometer provides a complete overview of spending in the FMCG sector (ambient and fresh food and drink, healthcare, toiletries, homecare and general merchandise) and in the T&D sector (technical consumer goods, household appliances and DIY) in Italy. This cross-category and cross-channel overview is based on real sales data and is set to be published on a quarterly basis to provide a new lens into household spending priorities.  

Inflation slows in 2024 and sales grow while slowing pace compared to 2023  

In January, February, and March 2024, sales in FMCG were 31 billion euros. The +3% increase in sales value – compared to the same quarter in 2023 -indicates that the sector is continuing its growth path, albeit at a slower pace than in the previous year (+9.5%), with the slowdown driven mainly by falling inflation rates. 
Comparison of the quarterly trends of the three main FMCG sectors, consumer staples, fresh and home & personal care, show homogeneous progress. According to NIQ’s Retail Spend Barometer, in the first quarter of 2024, the best performing category in terms of sales is fresh, with a +3.3 percent increase and a turnover of 6.7 billion euros. The trend confirms the dynamism and centrality of the category in both the purchasing choices of Italians and the growth strategies of all major retail operators. On the other hand, the value of the food sector, at +3 percent – in line with the FMCG figure – reaches 20.5 billion euros in spending with a growth of about 600 million euros compared to the same period last year. Home and personal care products also recorded +2.3% growth and revenues of 3.8 billion euros in January February and March 2024 compared to 2023. The slowdown in the growth of home & personal care (6.5 percent in Q1 2023) is, for this category as well, attributable to the decline in inflation. 
In conclusion, Romolo De Camillis, Director Retail NIQ Italy, commented, “During the first quarter of 2024, the decline in the rate of inflation led to a slowdown in growth in all the main FMCG sectors, although positive values were recorded. Despite the cooling of prices, volume trends remain negative and consumer demand appears weak, although sales continue to grow. In general, the months of January, February and March confirm profound changes in Italians’ consumption choices and the slowdowns appear more evident on non-food goods and less so on basic necessities.”  

Continued contraction in spending on Tech & Durables (T&D) goods 

After declining during 2023 (-1.1 percent), the Italian consumer technology and durable goods market began the year with a further decline. The first quarter of 2024 closed with total sales of 14.7 billion euros, marking a -3.8% decline compared to the same period last year.   

Analyzing data from NIQ’s Retail Spend Barometer, a negative trend emerges that extends to most T&D sectors, with some exceptions. After stability in 2023, the DIY and Home Improvement sector-which includes home renovation and furniture products-recorded a -3.5 percent decline in value and turnover of 6.7 billion for January, February, and March 2024. The Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) sector-which includes consumer electronics, telephony, IT, office products, photography, and other technology goods-continues to navigate turbulent waters and ended the first quarter of 2024 with a -8.9 percent contraction and sales of 3.5 billion euros. The exceptional expansion of this market during the pandemic years triggered a turnaround, with negative effects manifested today. In particular, consumer electronics–which has been steadily declining for several months now–drags down the trend of the entire sector.   
The first three months of 2024 also marked a -1.7 percent decline for the Household Appliances sector-after growth in 2023-recording 1.5 billion in sales. Despite the general decline in the T&D sector, the Other Sectors category (worth more than €3 billion) recorded +0.9 percent growth in the first three months of the year. This figure highlights a diversification in consumer spending choices, which particularly favored the babycare, healthcare and wristwatch markets.  

Ivano Garavaglia, Head of Retail at GfK, commented, “The data for the first months of 2024 confirm the slowdown in demand for technological and durable goods. This phenomenon could stem from a shift in the priorities of Italian consumers, who, after investing large sums in improving their homes and updating their technological equipment, are now directing their consumption toward other categories. In addition, primary and obligatory spending items such as the cost of fuel, energy and mortgage payments continue to weigh on Italians.”  

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About the NIQ Retail Spend Barometer  

The NIQ Retail Spend Barometer (The NIQ Retail Spend Barometer) examines consumer spending related to fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and technology and durable goods (T&D) in Italy. The Barometer is based on data derived from monitoring actual sales and measures changes in consumer purchasing trends. FMCG categories surveyed include groceries, perishables, household and personal care items, while T&D categories include consumer technology, home appliances and do-it-yourself products. The data come from continuous point-of-sale tracking by NielsenIQ and GfK, which together track sales of more than 350,000 retail partners worldwide.