Summer Sales 2024: Cautious Start Between High Cost of Living and Bad Weather

Tepid summer sales. It starts on Saturday, July 6th and for the first time the start is at the same time in all Italian regions (except Bolzano). Due to the high cost of living and bad weather of the last few months, a boom is not expected. Consumer interest is declining: this year 55% of Italians against 61% in 2023 intend to do discounted shopping (Confesercenti-Ipsos survey). The overall estimated turnover will still exceed 3.5 billion euros, but the expectations of the sector are not enthusiastic.

Federconsumatori’s forecasts are more cautious: only 38% of families have planned to go shopping on sale, with an average expenditure of 142 euros per family (-5% compared to 2023).
And four out of 10 traders expect sales drops between 0 and -10% even though the Confimprese Study Centre speaks of a +1%. The sales come after a period, from January to May, which marked a -0.8% compared to last year. A trend of reduction in purchases that involves all sales channels: shopping centres, shopping streets, local shops and outlets.

The contract renewals signed this year (tertiary sector employees will receive a one-off payment of 600 million euros in July) and the fourteenth month that has reached 8 million Italians (19% of those who receive it will also use it for sales) could push purchases. Therefore, one in two consumers should start buying from July 6, spending an average of 202 euros per family, 92 euros per person. A situation that is not idyllic, but rather stable. If 55% have already said they want to make purchases, there is a 31% who are looking: they will take a look (real or virtual) and decide based on the promotions they will have before their eyes. And then there is the 6% who are undecided (they don’t know if they will use the seasonal sales) and 8% who are not even thinking about it.

What are sales-goers looking for this year? As always, footwear is the most sought-after fashion product (61%): summer sneakers, ballet flats, sandals, and boat and technical shoes (for running and trekking). In second place are t-shirts and tops, followed by trousers and skirts. 41% of those interviewed will also be looking for summer knitwear. The top ten also includes dresses and suits (39%) and shirts (30%), followed by costumes and beachwear (29%), pyjamas and nightgowns (16%) and finally bags (15%).

Of course, for retailers, summer sales are always an important event, but even more so this year. Spring, with below-average temperatures and uncertain weather, has slowed sales. 39% of consumers have purchased fewer items of clothing, footwear and accessories. A lukewarm season, therefore, that opens on Saturday 6 July. “The sales, like the holidays, will not be for everyone this year either. This event still finds citizens in a moment of great difficulty: in a context of generalized price increases, with transport and service costs skyrocketing, families will adopt prudent attitudes, reducing extra purchases”, comments Federconsumatori.