Why the Italian market should be one of your best bets for localization

italian market localization

Why the Italian market should be one of your best bets for localization

Here’s the audio version of this blog post, enjoy listening!


Localization of your website, product, software, e-commerce platform (or pretty much everything, really) for the Italian market (or any other, really) is a crucial asset to make your business truly global.


But that’s not all: it can also create whole new audiences in places where your business already operates, but which does not yet offer localized content.

Localization will do good to your business, here’s why:


  • First of all, let’s start with the basics: 72.4% of global consumers would rather browse a native language website when shopping online, and 55% of these consumers would only buy products if the website is in their own language.
  • You will expand your audience in a significant way: entering new markets with a localized product is certainly a good way to establish a solid presence in that market.
  • Increase brand loyalty: a bond will be easier to forge with your customers if it’s spoken in a familiar language.
  • Customer satisfaction: showing that you’re committed to that particular audience will increase customer trust.
  • The possibility of offering tailor-made experiences for local markets, while thinking about the global: no true glocal approach would be thorough without localization.


What about the Italian market?


First of all, let’s get the big elephant in the room out of the way. Italians don’t speak English. If you read out the cold hard data from this article, the bottom line is that Italy is a country with a mix of moderate English proficiency and low tolerance for English. This is quite a strong combination, since it means that any content localized into Italian will have a higher chance to “stick” to people that have no problem reading contents in English while still preferring Italian, and will in the meantime reach new customers altogether. Compare that with, for example, the Netherlands, where both English proficiency and tolerance are quite high: it is possible that localizing content into Dutch would be a less enticing proposition than localizing content into Italian (that’s not to say it wouldn’t be good at all – localizing is always a smart move!). This is a first good reason for choosing to localize your content into Italian, because it’s a key indicator that the Italian market is very receptive to localized content.

The fact that while Italians are not too friendly with the English language, they are instead getting more and more comfortable with online shopping, which makes everything even more compelling. Check out these facts from Nimdzi Insights to have a better grasp on e-commerce in Italy:

  • In 2019, the total revenue for e-commerce in Italy was 15.23 billion dollars, projected to reach 23.5 billion in 2023. That’s quite a growth!
  • 92% of Italy’s population (60 million people) is connected to the Internet, with social media being a huge driver for online shopping.
  • Shopping by mobile browsers or mobile apps is quite common.
  • Localized ads influence buying: 64.67% of users say they like it when the manufacturer or service provider has ads in their language.
  • 7% of users will choose Italian over English when presented with the choice on a website.

This line of research is telling us that if content that was not originally provided in Italian would be all of sudden translated, 70% of customers would be more interested in it (or rather, they would become interested for the first time, since they couldn’t engage with it before!). That’s pretty good, isn’t it?

Add to this that Italy is a big economy and a strong player in European and global markets, it ranks 8th in global GDP rankings, and it’s often considered a very sought after country from a cultural point of view –  businesses like Italy – and you get a pretty strong case for localizing into Italian.

You wouldn’t be the first to do this, of course (and that should be the best reason to do it, actually). Italy is considered one of the “core” markets for localization: English, French, German and Spanish together with Italian make up “EFIGS”, and then you have Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean (CCJK). In an hypothetical ranking, Italy would be the 6th language chosen for localization, after English, Chinese, Spanish, German, Japanese and French. It’s not bad at all, considering that among all the languages here, Italian is without a doubt the one with less native speakers: it’s got quite a bit of staying power!

alleanza tra comunicazione e traduzione

I lied before, there was another elephant in the room: it would be short-sighted to ignore the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and is still having, on e-commerce and online shopping. While it is certainly too soon to say that the uptick in online shopping caused by the pandemic will stick around and mark a gradual shift to some wide scale online shopping, it is certain that the effects have been strong. Online shopping has become not only more convenient, but also a necessity for many people in regions and areas where lockdowns have been mandated. For example, according to GamesIndustry.biz, digital videogame downloads rose dramatically during the first week when countries were entering lockdown in mid-March 2020. In Italy, they rose by 175%, in France by 180%. This is just one example, but the gaming industry is not the only one that has seen an increase of online shopping during the pandemic.

This is certainly a sticking point to carefully consider when entering a new market and how to do it: better be prepared and have a localization strategy ready, the Italian market is waiting for you!

Mirco Carlini

Translator & Post-editor, Unstoppable reader and videogame lover, he loves peaceful hikes in the mountains as well as relaxing and swimming in the sea.

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