Italy imported US$473.5 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2019, up by 15.2% since 2015 but down by -5.2% from 2018 to 2019.
Italian imports represent 2.4% of overall global imports which totaled $19.665 trillion one year earlier.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, Italy uses the euro which appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. The weaker EU currency makes Italy’s imports paid for in stronger US dollars in 2019 relatively less expensive than in 2018 when converted starting from euros.
From a continental perspective, about two-thirds (66.9%) of Italy’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners accounted for 20.7% of imports purchased by Italy while 5.1% worth originated from exporters in Africa plus 4.7% for North American shippers.
Smaller percentages came from Latin America (2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (under 0.2%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Italy’s population of 60.4 million people, its total $473.5 billion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $7,800 in yearly product demand from every person in the south European country.
Italy’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Italy’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Italy.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$58.5 billion (12.4% of total imports)
- Vehicles: $48.1 billion (10.2%)
- Machinery including computers: $46.4 billion (9.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $36.3 billion (7.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $27.2 billion (5.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $20.4 billion (4.3%)
- Iron, steel: $19.5 billion (4.1%)
- Organic chemicals: $16.1 billion (3.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $13.4 billion (2.8%)
- Gems, precious metals: $12.6 billion (2.7%)
Italy’s top 10 imports represent 63% of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Propelled by accelerated purchases of gold on global markets, fastest growing among Italy’s top 10 import categories from 2018 to 2019 was the gems and precious metals category via its 14.6% increase. The only other gains belong to pharmaceuticals (up 2%) and optical, technical and medical apparatus (up 0.6%).
Leading the decliners was the mineral fuels including oil category thanks to a -13.3% reduction, weighted down by Italy’s diminished purchases of petroleum oils and gas, electricity and coal.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2019, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Crude oil: US$29.1 billion (down -1.5% from 218)
- Petroleum gases: $16.7 billion (down -14.4%)
- Processed petroleum oils: $8.4 billion (down -16.%)
- Electrical energy: $2.3 billion (down -24.%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $1.2 billion (down -34.1%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $213. million (down -7.7%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $183.4 million (up 196.7%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $172.5 million (up 18.6%)
- Peat: $7.9 million (down -12.2%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $66. million (down -6.1%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of coke or semi-coke (up 196.7%) and high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 18.6%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Italian businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$30.3 billion (down -6.4% from 2018)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $8.2 billion (down -6.8%)
- Trucks: $3.1 billion (down -10.2%)
- Tractors: $1.8 billion (up 4.3%)
- Motorcycles: $1 billion (down -4.2%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $906.8 million (up 3.9%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $751.9 million (down -11.9%)
- Trailers: $561.9 million (down -18.1%)
- Automobile bodies: $252.2 million (up 7.6%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $158.6 million (up 14.8%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of bicycles and other non-motorized cycles (up 14.8%), automobile bodies (up 7.6%) then tractors (up 4.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Italian businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$5.2 billion (down -1.8% from 2018)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $2.2 billion (up 1%)
- Turbo-jets: $2.2 billion (down -1%)
- Printing machinery: $2.1 billion (down -11.4%)
- Piston engine parts: $2 billion (down -9.8%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $1.8 billion (down -11.9%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $1.7 billion (down -6.9%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $1.7 billion (down -4.8%)
- Air conditioners: $1.6 billion (up 2.3%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $1.6 billion (up 2.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of miscellaneous machinery (up 2.4%), air conditioners (up 2.3%) then taps, valves and similar appliances (up 1%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Italian businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$8.8 billion (down -1.6% from 2018)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $2.2 billion (down -5%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $2 billion (down -7.1%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $1.9 billion (up 0.8%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $1.9 billion (down -6%)
- Electric motors, generators: $1.8 billion (down -3.3%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $1.7 billion (down -3.1%)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $1.5 billion (down -12.6%)
- Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches: $1.3 billion (down -6.1%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $1.2 billion (up 1.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of electrical and optical circuit boards or panels (up 1.6%) and electrical converters or power units (up 0.8%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Italian businesses and consumers.
See also Italy’s Top Trading Partners, Italy’s Top 10 Major Export Companies and Italy’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 20, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 20, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 20, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 20, 2020