Italy imported US$422.9 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2020, up by 4% since 2016 but down by -10.7% from 2019 to 2020.
Italian imports in 2020 represent 2.2% of overall global imports which totaled $19.085 trillion one year earlier in 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, Italy uses the euro which appreciated by 3.1% against the US dollar since 2016 and increased by 2% from 2019 to 2020. The stronger EU currency made Italy’s imports paid for in weaker US dollars in 2020 relatively more expensive when converted starting from euros.
From a continental perspective, over two-thirds (67.2%) of Italy’s total imports by value in 2020 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners accounted for 21.6% of imports purchased by Italy while 4.7% worth originated from exporters in North America plus 4% for African shippers.
Smaller percentages came from Latin America (2.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.2%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Italy’s population of 60.5 million people, its total $422.9 billion in 2020 imports translates to roughly $7,000 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 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Italy.
- Machinery including computers: US$43.3 billion (10.2% of total imports)
- Vehicles: $38 billion (9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $35.8 billion (8.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $35.5 billion (8.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $28.4 billion (6.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $18.3 billion (4.3%)
- Gems, precious metals: $17.6 billion (4.2%)
- Organic chemicals: $16.5 billion (3.9%)
- Iron, steel: $14.9 billion (3.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $12.9 billion (3.1%)
Italy’s top 10 imports represent 61.8% 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 2019 to 2020 was the gems and precious metals category via its 39.2% increase. The only other year-over-year gains belong to pharmaceuticals (up 4.4%) and organic chemicals (up 2.6%).
Leading the decliners was the mineral fuels including oil category thanks to a -39.3% reduction, weighted down by Italy’s diminished outlays for 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 the adjacent virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2020, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$6.2 billion (up 18.7% from 2019)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $2.1 billion (down -4.9%)
- Turbo-jets: $2 billion (down -8.8%)
- Piston engine parts: $1.8 billion (down -11.5%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $1.7 billion (down -5.2%)
- Printing machinery: $1.7 billion (down -16.7%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $1.6 billion (down -5.1%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $1.6 billion (up 1.7%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $1.6 billion (up 0.03%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $1.5 billion (down -14.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of computers including optical readers (up 18.7%), centrifuges, filters and purifiers (up 1.7%) then miscellaneous machinery (up 0.03%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
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 2020, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$22.8 billion (down -24.7% from 2019)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $7 billion (down -14.1%)
- Trucks: $2.1 billion (down -33.8%)
- Tractors: $1.8 billion (up 3.1%)
- Motorcycles: $1.1 billion (up 2.5%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $884.7 million (down -2.3%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $612.5 million (down -18.6%)
- Trailers: $471.4 million (down -16%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $165.8 million (up 4.5%)
- Automobile bodies: $152.9 million (down -39.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of bicycles including other non-motorized cycles (up 4.5%), tractors (up 3.1%) then motorcycles (up 2.5%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
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 2020, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$9 billion (up 2.2% from 2019)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $2 billion (down -6.5%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $1.9 billion (down -6.9%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $1.8 billion (down -2.6%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $1.8 billion (up 4.7%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $1.8 billion (down -3.7%)
- Electric motors, generators: $1.7 billion (down -5.7%)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $1.5 billion (up 4.7%)
- Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches: $1.3 billion (up 4.2%)
- Electric storage batteries: $1.3 billion (up 26.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of electric storage batteries (up 26.5%), integrated circuits or microassemblies (up 4.7%) then electric water heaters and hair dryers (also up 4.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
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.
In 2020, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Crude oil: US$16.1 billion (down -44.6% from 2019)
- Petroleum gases: $11.1 billion (down -33.1%)
- Processed petroleum oils: $5.1 billion (down -39.2%)
- Electrical energy: $1.8 billion (down -22.4%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $660.4 million (down -44.9%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $182.9 million (up 6%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $124.7 million (down -41.2%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $115 million (down -37.4%)
- Peat: $72.3 million (up 2.3%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $68.9 million (up 4.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 6%), petroleum jelly and mineral waxes (up 4.4%) then peat (up 2.3%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
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.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 21, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 21, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 21, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 21, 2021