Electric scooters and takeaways: What people in Italy are spending and saving on this year

New statistics have revealed Italian consumers' changing spending habits during the pandemic. Here's what people are now spending less on, and buying for the first time.

Electric scooters and takeaways: What people in Italy are spending and saving on this year
Photo by: Valentina Locatelli / Unsplash

Data from the annual consumer price index, as compiled by Italy’s national statistics body Istat, has divulged what Italians have been spending their money on over the past year.

Average spending has hit a low with the so-called ‘shopping cart’ expenditure declining by 0.7% year-on-year. That’s a level not seen since August 1997, when the annual decrease was -0.8%.

READ ALSO: Indoor dining and later curfew: Italy’s new timetable for easing Covid-19 restrictions

Some items and services have increased in popularity despite an overall decline in buying.

Naturally, due to the pandemic, certain products such as surgical masks and hand gel feature highly on that list.

In fact, spending on health services and items has increased by 0.8% compared to the year before, making up 9.7% of the overall average outgoings.

Other, perhaps more surprising, spending trends have emerged too.

Electric scooter sharing programmes and electric charging points for cars have entered the family spending budget, according to the report.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Italy’s new electric scooter craze

Transport spending as a whole has declined by 2.2% compared to the previous year. Its share of overall spending is now 12.5%.

Other notable changes include an increase in the food and non-alcoholic beverages bill, up by 3.1% compared to last year, accounting for 19.2% of the overall household spend.

Housing, water, electricity and fuel are up by 1.2%, making 11.2% of the total share. Health care and living expenses, meanwhile, are up by 0.8%, creating an overall share of 9.7% of the total spend.

Spending on accommodation and food services, on the other hand, is down by 3.7% and recreation, entertainment and culture is down by 0.7%. That makes 8.9% and 7% of the overall spend respectively.

READ ALSO: Fast trains and extended building bonus: How Italy’s EU recovery plan could affect you

The survey measures the purchasing decisions on items in the areas of food, home and personal care. Even though average household spending is down, inflation is up overall, equal to 1.1%, which is an increase from 0.8% in March.

“In April, it is the acceleration of energy goods prices that drive the further growth of inflation,” explained Istat.

The Istat data was released at the same time as the confederation of businesses, Confcommercio, compiled statistics in collaboration with social and economic research centre Censis.

Together, they have analysed the impact of the pandemic on confidence, prospects and household consumption in their latest report.

The figures are pretty bleak, with a collapse in consumption equal to €1,831 per person in 2020. They noted an increase in savings of €82 billion, though – an effect of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

Those are tied-up funds holding back economic recovery, they claimed.

READ ALSO: Italy to spend 40 billion more to help virus-hit economy

According to the survey, citizens’ confidence in the near future is improving, but there’s still caution.

One in five families have already decided that they will not go on holiday this summer and almost half of families (47.4%) haven’t yet made up their minds.

Confcommercio chairman Carlo Sangalli said, “The pandemic is easing and the conditions are in place for a safe start. Businesses need more normality and certainty to be able to plan their activities.”

“Starting with more robust support, which has yet to arrive. We need to accelerate in order to recover losses and strengthen an economic growth that is still too weak,” he added.

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Can British people in Italy claim the UK’s winter fuel payment?

In the UK, there are various benefits available to help eligible people through the cold winter months – one of which is the winter fuel payment. But can Britons living in Italy really claim this benefit to cover the cost of heating their Italian homes?

Can British people in Italy claim the UK’s winter fuel payment?

Average winter temperatures vary across Italy, but those who move here after only experiencing scorching summers are often surprised to discover just how cold the country can get.

Even the hardiest of arrivals from colder climes will no doubt have to switch on the radiators or fire up the woodburner between November and February – despite the surging costs.

READ ALSO: Not just gas: How the cost of heating has soared in Italy

As the cost of living crisis bites, some UK nationals who reside in Italy may wonder if they could still be eligible for winter fuel financial support from the UK.

What is the UK’s winter fuel payment?

The UK’s winter fuel payment is a tax-free payment to help older people with heating costs during the cold winter months.

Those eligible must have been born before September 26th 1956, according to the UK government’s website.

How much people receive depends on their age and whether anyone else in the household is also eligible, but the amount is usually between £250 and £600.

I’m a UK national living in Italy. Can I claim the winter fuel payment?

Yes, if you meet the following criteria according to the British government’s website:

“If you do not live in the UK, you’re only eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if:

  • you moved to an eligible country before 1 January 2021
  • you were born before 26 September 1956
  • you have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK – this can include having lived or worked in the UK, and having family in the UK”

Unlike Spain and France, which the British government has deemed to be too warm on average, Italy is on the list of eligible countries along with Austria, Germany, Sweden, and others.

Find out how to claim the fuel payment on the UK government’s website here.

According to the UK government, during winter the average temperature is between 2 and 7 degrees Celsius in the UK.

READ ALSO: At what time of day is electricity cheapest in Italy?

The Italian government divides the country into six ‘climate zones’ which determine when and for how long residents should have their heating switched on each winter.

According to the government’s classification, the coldest parts of the country are the northern provinces of Cuneo, Trento, and Belluno, where no heating restrictions apply.