IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE ITALIAN PUBLISHING MARKET: REVENUE SHORTFALL BETWEEN 650 AND 900 MILLION
The Italian Publishers Association (AIE) presented yesterday (26/05/2020) conducted in collaboration with Nielsen and IE-Informazioni Editoriali that reveals that eight million fewer copies were sold in the trade sector alone (fiction and nonfiction) amounting to a revenue loss of about 134 million euros during the first four months of the year, condensed between March and April. This report also reveals, among other things, that online stores have become the leading booksales channel having taken a 47% slice of the market share.
The president of AIE -Ricardo Franco Levi- declared that: “By the end of the year we could be looking at a revenue shortfall of 650 to 900 million euros out of a total of 3.2 billion euros”. Also added that: “Between the impact of the lockdown and the drop in demand expected during the second half of the year, we fear the entire book industry could be set to lose a staggering 650 to 900 million euros by the end of 2020 out of a total of 3.2 billion euros generated in 2019 – AIE President Ricardo Franco Levi explains – But companies are fighting back and strong policies to sustain demand, such as vouchers to families and the purchase of books on behalf of libraries, may still produce significant effects. If we act quickly.”
According to Nielsen estimates, the trade publishing industry (fiction and nonfiction) has registered a net loss of 90.3 million euros between January 1 and May 3. By also considering sales channels left out by research institutes (stationery stores selling books, direct sales, book fairs, specialized and academic bookshops) the loss increases to about 134 million euros. New book releases have come to a standstill: from March 16 to May 3 publishers whose books are distributed by major national groups have suspended 91.1% of their publications. As Levi underlined this is the first time in Italy when there is a loss of two figures.
During his presentation Giovanni Peresson -Director of research at AIE- underlined that for the 37% of the buyers of books on-line were the first time to use this channel. In fact, the evolution of the sales on-line in Italy rose from 3,5% in 2007 to 47% during the months of the lockdown in 2020.
During the first 16 weeks of the year, 47% of trade book sales (fiction and nonfiction) took place on online storescompared to 26.7% in the previous year. Large-scale retail trade remained stable at 7.3%, while bookshops dropped from 66.2% to 45%. Between March 9 and April 12, namely during the weeks of closure, bookshop sales plunged on average by 85%, but those who were able to retain customer loyalty and build their online presence observed a smaller 71%decline in sales, as they continued to carry out their activities through home deliveries. The web has become increasinglystrategic: before the crisis 59% of readers stated their purchases were based on recommendations from blogs, dedicated websites or social networks; that percentage has now risen to 64%.
Levi also defended the measures of support to the families with children of 5 o 6 years old as a way to ease the stress of the whole book chain value.