CALITRI, ITALY - 15 SEPTEMBER 2020: Luciano Capossela (38), a jeweler who helped organise a protest against the Amazon event, poses for a portrait in his workshop in Calitri, a village of 4,000 people in southern Italy, on September 15th 2020.
In Calitry Amazon sponsored a local Christmas festival last year as part of a marketing campaign to show it could reach even the most isolated areas. It paid for a big Christmas tree in the town square and provided gifts to local children. The town’s mayor hoped it would lead more local artisans and farmers to sell their products through Amazon. Luciano Capossela helped organize a protest of the Christmas festival with other local shop owners, who closed their stores for the night and blacked out their windows. “If we keep going this way in 10 to 15 years we will only have Amazon and everything else will no longer exist,” he said.
Amazon has been one of the biggest winners in the pandemic as people in its most established markets — the United States, Germany and Britain — have turned to it to buy everything from toilet paper to board games. What has been less noticed is that people in countries that had traditionally resisted the e-commerce giant are now also falling into Amazon’s grasp .
The shift has been particularly pronounced in Italy, which was one of the first countries hard hit by the virus. Italians have traditionally preferred to shop at local stores and pay cash. But after the government imposed Europe’s first nationwide virus lockdown, Italians began shopping online in record numbers.
75 percent of Italians shopped online during the lockdown. In 2020, total online sales are estimated to grow 26 percent to a record 22.7 billion euros, according to researchers from Polytechnic University of Milan.