Year over year, the overall cost of Italy’s imports accelerated by 21.3% from $568.2 billion in 2021.
Italy’s top 5 imported products by value in 2022 were petroleum gases, crude oil, cars, medication mixes, and imported electrical energy. Combined, those 5 products accounted for about a quarter (25.3%) of Italy’s overall spending on imports during 2022.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, Italy’s official currency the euro depreciated by -12.1% against the US dollar since 2018 and diluted by -12.3% from 2021 to 2022. The weaker European Union currency in 2022 made Italy’s imports paid for in stronger US dollars in 2022 relatively more expensive when converted starting from euros.
Domestically, the inflation rate for Italy’s average consumer prices was 8.744% in 2022 up from 1.941% one year earlier.
Major Countries Supplying Products Imported by Italy
The latest available country-specific data shows that 61.5% of products imported by Italy were furnished by exporters in: Germany (13.9% of Italy’s total), mainland China (8.8%), France (7.4%), Netherlands (5.6%), Spain (4.7%), Russia (4.2%), Belgium (3.9%), United States of America (3.8%), Azerbaijan (3.1%), Switzerland (2.8%), Algeria (also 2.8%) and Austria (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, two-thirds (61.5%) of Italy’s total imports by value in 2022 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners accounted for 24.6% of imports purchased by Italy while 7.3% worth originated from exporters in Africa. Another 4.3% was provided by shippers in North America.
Smaller percentages came from Latin America (2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.2%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Italy’s population of 59.2 million people, its total $689.2 billion in 2022 imports translates to roughly $11,600 in yearly product demand from every person in the south European country. That dollar amount outpaces the average $9,300 per capita during 2021.
Italy’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Italy’s import purchases during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Italy.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$147.3 billion (21.4% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $58 billion (8.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $52.5 billion (7.6%)
- Vehicles: $46.9 billion (6.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $34.6 billion (5%)
- Iron, steel: $32.6 billion (4.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $30 billion (4.3%)
- Organic chemicals: $23.1 billion (3.4%)
- Gems, precious metals: $18.1 billion (2.6%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $14.9 billion (2.2%)
Italy’s top 10 imports represent two-thirds (66.4%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Fastest growing among Italy’s top 10 import categories from 2021 to 2022 was the iron and steel category via its 92.4% increase.
In second place was mineral fuels including oil (up 94.9%) propelled by Italy’s increased spending on imported petroleum oils (both crude and refined) and petroleum gas.
Italy’s imports of organic chemicals expanded by 21% year over year, ahead of iron and steel metal imports (up 14.5%).
Gems and precious metals imported into Italy declined by -5.1% from 2021.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under the sections below is at the more granular 4-digit level.
Italy’s Top Mineral Fuels Imports and Related Products
In 2022, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Petroleum gases: US$68.3 billion (up 139.7% from 2021)
- Crude oil: $44.8 billion (up 49.6%)
- Electrical energy: $15 billion (up 133.4%)
- Processed petroleum oils: $13.6 billion (up 64.6%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $4.2 billion (up 194.9%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $452.5 million (up 59.2%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $374.3 million (up 47.1%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $188.8 million (up 75%)
- Peat: $102.3 million (up 15.1%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $98.9 million (down -46.7%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 194.9%), petroleum gases (up 139.7%) then electrical energy (up 133.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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.
Italy’s Top Machinery Imports Including Computers
In 2022, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$6.5 billion (down -9.7% from 2021)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $2.8 billion (up 7.3%)
- Turbo-jets: $2.5 billion (up 9.2%)
- Air conditioners: $2.4 billion (up 19.6%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $2.3 billion (up 3.2%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $2.22 billion (up 8%)
- Piston engine parts: $2.15 billion (down -5%)
- Printing machinery: $2.07 billion (up 3.7%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $2.02 billion (up 1.9%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $2 billion (up 2.1%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of air conditioners (up 19.6%), turbo-jets (up 9.2%) then transmission shafts, gears and clutches (up 8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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.
Italy’s Top Electrical Products Imports
In 2022, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment including consumer electronics.
- Phone devices including smartphones: US$11.3 billion (up 7.9% from 2021)
- Electrical converters/power units: $3.8 billion (up 44.6%)
- Electric storage batteries: $3.5 billion (up 52.2%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $3.1 billion (up 8.7%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $2.79 billion (up 5.8%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $2.78 billion (up 72.5%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $2.45 billion (down -17.7%)
- Electric motors, generators: $2.43 billion (up 15.1%)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $2.4 billion (up 11.1%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $2.2 billion (down -5.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 72.5%), electric storage batteries (up 52.2%) then electrical converters or power units (up 44.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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.
Italy’s Top Vehicles Imports
In 2022, Italian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles and related products.
- Cars: US$25.5 billion (down -1.4% from 2021)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $9.3 billion (up 5.4%)
- Tractors: $2.7 billion (up 6.1%)
- Trucks: $2.6 billion (down -7.7%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $1.62 billion (up 12.2%)
- Motorcycles: $1.55 billion (up 1.5%)
- Trailers: $813.6 million (down -0.8%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $713.2 million (up 7.9%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $197 million (down -18%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $186.4 million (down -4.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Italian purchases of motorcycle parts or accessories (up 12.2%), public-transport vehicles (up 7.9%) then tractors (up 6.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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.
See also Italy’s Top Trading Partners, Italy’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Italy’s Top 10 Exports and Germany’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 3, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on May 3, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 3, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 3, 2023