An insight into the Italians’ love of tech
As reported in the latest statistics, the smartphone market keeps growing in Italy while the rest of Europe is experiencing a negative trend. Brands like Apple, Samsung and Huawei didn’t even make up for this negative trend with their top-of-the-line devices that usually help boost sales in the darkest of times.
What surprises the most in Italy, though, is the outstanding numbers of digital payments. In 2017, contactless payments went through an exponential growth of 150% compared to the previous year. The amount of payments by card (credit, debit and prepaid) in Italy in 2017 was 220 billion euros, out of which 70 million euros (+60%) were processed by smartphone through Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Even if the number of active credit cards has slightly decreased (-2.2%), they have generated a greater amount of digital transactions (+9.8%). Also, so-called prepaid cards maintain a positive trend for adults and young adults alike.
It is no coincidence that one of the most popular prepaid cards in Italy, Hype, developed its product around an app that seems to be more important – in fact, it is – than the card itself.
On the Hype website, you realise at first glance how the application plays a prominent role, while the actual card is nothing but a tool that takes you to it – and sometimes you can even ignore the card by only picking a virtual card.
Not surprisingly, the Hype card has reached a hundred thousand users in 2017, then celebrated two hundred thousand users in the first months of 2018.
In the meantime, companies like the German N26 and the British Revolut realised they could not afford to just be witnesses and launched a massive marketing campaign that runs mostly on the web and social media.
Although this looks like a soon-to-be high-tech country, absolute numbers show an inverse truth: compared to the other European nations, Italy proves itself to still be a cash-loving society with a whim for technology (mostly used for lurking on social media).
When it comes to paying with a smartphone, merchants may look at you with suspicion.
The best-case scenario here is: the guy behind the counter (no matter how old he is) will ask you to rephrase your request. Worst-case – still not unusual – scenario: the customer will be compelled to pay in cash because the business doesn’t have a card machine. At the same time, the merchant reaches for his phone to place a bet on a Malta-based website using a prepaid card or a Paysafecard ticket.