Shipping to Italy From the USA: Costs, Regulations, Best Practices
Offering international shipping is one of the quickest and easiest ways to expand your reach to new audiences. The Italian e-commerce market is relatively new to the scene – according to JP Morgan Chase, only 36% of the general population shopped online in 2020.
However, Italy has quickly become one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Western Europe. This year, the social e-commerce market is expected to grow by a whopping 67% – a trend that is expected to continue into 2028.
If you’re looking to break into the Italian e-commerce market, there’s no better time than the present to do so. Start building a stellar reputation now that could lead to exponential growth for your business in the future.
Understanding the Italian E-commerce Market
The best way to bolster your popularity and reputation as an international shipper to Italy is by understanding the country’s market trends. Studying Italian e-commerce trends, getting to know your target audience, and familiarizing yourself with the regulations for shipping to Italy are a few best practices you can use to achieve this.
Italy E-commerce Trends
Here are a few top market trends in the Italian e-commerce world today:
- In 2022, nearly 20% of all e-commerce transactions were fashion-related. That number is expected to grow to around 36% by 2025.
- In 2021, 49.4% of e-commerce users ranged in age from 35-54 years old, with 35-44 year olds making up 23% of this figure and the remaining 26.4% being 45-54 years old.
- Over 66% of Italian e-commerce consumers reported that their preferred method of payment is via credit card or digital wallet.
- High levels of fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic mean that Italian customers value anti-fraud protection at every stage of the purchase process.
Selling to Customers in Italy
A major contributing factor to your success in Italian shipping depends on how you connect with your target audience. The vast majority of revenue from online shopping in Italy comes from Amazon. Over 87% of e-commerce sales from the country come from desktop websites, so ensuring that your website is user-friendly is an absolute must.
Understanding what Italian shoppers are buying online is another great way to tailor your shop’s offerings to the audience there. Some of the most popular categories for online shopping in Italy include electronics and fashion.
Shipping to Italy Regulations
Though shipping to Italy from the US is similar in many ways to domestic shipping, there are a few differences. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with which items are banned from shipping to Italy and which might require special care to clear customs.
Italy enforces strict regulations surrounding the import of certain products. Shipments that contain animal products, coffee, cosmetics, prescription or non-prescription drugs, leather goods, or certain agricultural products, to name a few, are prohibited from shipping to Italy entirely. Check out this webpage for a complete list of prohibited imports.
Another more recent rule you must comply with is including the HS code when shipping to countries in the European Union (EU). This rule was implemented on March 1, 2023 as a way to further protect the citizens of the EU as well as better assess the taxes and customs duties to be collected on incoming shipments. You will have to provide a detailed description of each product within your parcel as well as the HS code for each product.
In order to get the HS code for your product you’ll need to use the Schedule B search tool located on the Cences Bureau’s website.
Customs Fees, Tariffs, and Cost of Shipping to Italy
Shipping to Italy from the USA requires shippers to pay certain customs fees, tariffs, and taxes. These dollar amounts are determined based on the declared value of the items in a shipment.
Italian customs personnel use special identifying numbers called tariff codes or HTS codes to identify the category under which a shipment falls. This internationally-recognized system makes it simple to determine which rates apply to which shipments.
All shipments entering into Italy from international shippers are subject to an import tax. This tax is equivalent to 22% of the value of the goods being imported. Italian customs workers use accompanying documentation, called a commercial invoice, to determine this cost.
Consequently, you’ll need to double-check invoicing to ensure values are accurate before any shipment departs.
Duty rates are also assessed on most imports to Italy. These rates are based upon a shipment’s contents and value. Duty taxes can range anywhere from 0% to 37.5% of the shipment’s value, with the average rate falling around 5.63%.
How to Ship to Italy From the US with USPS, UPS, and FedEx
A good rule of thumb to use when shipping from Italy to the USA is to work with a reputable carrier with a history of success shipping abroad. Luckily, some of the most popular carriers for domestic shipping like USPS, UPS, and FedEx have a stellar reputation for shipping internationally.
Though each of these carrier options are a safe choice for transit to Italy, they each have their own set of perks and drawbacks.
USPS Shipping to Italy
USPS shipping to Italy is often the most economical choice. However, you’ll sacrifice transit times in exchange for reduced shipping rates. Luckily, USPS offers the option to expedite delivery via Priority Mail International service.
USPS accepts international shipments weighing up to 70 pounds and dimensions up to 46” long, 35” wide, and 46” tall.
UPS Shipping to Italy
UPS offers convenient solutions for e-commerce shipping to Italy. With UPS, you’ll have access to hundreds of Access Point locations across the country that make shipping a breeze. You’ll also enjoy faster transit times for a competitive rate.
One of the biggest advantages to shipping internationally with UPS is that for qualifying shipments you can use UPS Paperless Invoice™. This allows you to electronically and automatically send customs invoices to the customs agencies of Italy at the time you purchase your label. You won’t have to worry about attaching additional paperwork to the outside of your shipment, helping you clear customs and get your customer’s orders delivered sooner.
UPS accepts international shipments weighing up to 150 pounds with maximum dimensions of up to 108” long.
FedEx Shipping to Italy
FedEx is one of the most popular international shippers in the world. A few perks of shipping via FedEx include expert support, assistance with customs clearance, and user-friendly tracking.
Shippo also now offers huge discounts for FedEx International Connect Plus plus residential surcharges are completely waived. You’ll also be able to direct shipments to convenient pick up locations for customers as well as allow customers to specify where and how exactly they want their parcels delivered.
FedEx accepts international shipments weighing up to 150 pounds and measuring a maximum of 108” in length.
Cheapest Way to Ship to Italy
Using the most economical shipping method to Italy is a great way to help your customers get a bigger bang for their buck. However, it’s important to choose a carrier that offers a good balance of economy and quality for the price.
For example, USPS is often among the cheapest ways to ship internationally, but also carries longer transit times compared to other carriers.
A great alternative that offers speedy transit times for an affordable price is to use UPS international services. With Shippo, you can take advantage of discounts up to 86% off with this carrier.
How to Ship Within Italy or Ship Returns out of Italy
If you’re considering shipping within Italy or need a quick and easy way to ship returns back to the States, consider renting Italian warehouse space. Going this route can save you serious time and money, and also makes it more convenient for your customers to work with you.
Shippo’s partnership with Poste Italiane makes it easier than ever to facilitate Italy shipping within or out of the country.