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Mail & Parcel

The postal services market is going through a period of radical change, primarily linked to the digital transformation, which has influenced the volume of letters and parcels in circulation. At the macro-trend level, the continuing structural decline in traditional mail volumes, replaced by digital forms of communication (e-mail, instant messaging, etc.), is accompanied by an increase in the volume of parcels sent.

In particular, for the letter mail market, after the substantial drop in 2020 volumes (-19% compared to 2019), 2021 confirmed a trend of substantial stability (+0.2% compared to 2020)21. In 2022, the market decreased further (-5.3% compared to 2021), mainly as a consequence of e-substitution effects.

The parcel sector experienced a period of uncertainty in 2022, but this did not affect the value of the market, which grew strongly in the pandemic years. The effects conditioning the continuation of the growth trend recorded in recent years can be summarized as the generalised increase in costs brought about by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the rise in inflation with the consequent decrease in consumer purchasing power, and the lower propensity for private purchases (including on-line). This trend is also visible on a global level, as witnessed by the results of several leading companies.
For the Italian parcel sector, estimates for 2022 therefore point to a stable market value compared to 2021.

Payments & Mobile

The latest available data on the Italian payment card market show significant growth of the total domestic transactions, which in September 2022 were close to €265 billion, an increase of 17% compared to September 2021 due to the recovery in consumption. The number of transactions grew by 18% over the same period last year to 5.6 billion, a sign of an increasingly consolidated daily use of cards, also thanks to a greater propensity and acceptance of the use of digital payments by merchants (e-commerce and contactless payments). Debit card transactions grew by 24% compared to September 2021 and accounted for more than half of the total transactions (about 60%), with transactions exceeding €155 billion (+21% compared to September 2021). Also, prepaid cards are advancing at a fast pace (+18% of transactions and +19% in terms of value compared to September 2021), for a total amount of more than €46 billion, thanks to the steady development of e-commerce and increased penetration at physical points. The first nine months of 2022 were also positive for credit cards, ending the period on an upward trend with transactions up 3.9% and value up 8.3% compared to September 2021, with a total amount of almost €64 billion and an average ticket at levels recorded at the end of 2021.

At 30 September 2022, the number of active cards on the market exceeded 93 million, up 1.5% compared to the stock of active cards at 31 December 2021: the greatest growth was recorded on debit cards, which grew by 2% compared to 31 December 2021, totalling almost 48 million active cards. Also on the rise is the stock of prepaid cards, surpassing 30 million (+1% compared to the figure at the end of December 2021) and growth also resumed in credit cards (+0.4% compared to 31 December 2021) with over 15 million active cards.

According to the latest available figures, Mobile telephony market penetration, in terms of total mobile lines, stands at approximately 181% of the population, with MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) accounting for 14.8. Total lines at 30 September 2022 amounted to 107.1 million (+1,3% compared to the same period in 2021) including 28.6 million Machine to Machine (M2M) SIMs (+2.8% compared to the same period of 2021).

During the year, the energy market was heavily impacted by the international geopolitical context: firstly, the Covid-19 pandemic and, in recent months, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict are influencing the markets and prices of raw materials, primarily gas, with significant repercussions on the electricity market The price of wholesale gas, already from the last quarter of 2021, has risen sharply as a result of the recovery related to the improvement of the pandemic scenario and the increase in international tensions, which escalated in February 2022 in the above-mentioned conflict. The price of gas surpassed the level recorded in the first half of 2021 by more than 500%; the third quarter of 2022 was also characterised by a scenario of significant tensions on energy commodity prices, which were even higher than in the second quarter of the year: the very high purchase costs and elevated price volatility are also related to uncertainties about the reliability of gas supplies from Russia.
During the summer, European gas stocks grew rapidly while alternative sources to gas (hydro, nuclear and coal) had to significantly reduce their production due to high temperatures and water shortages; the European institutions announced measures64 to deal with high energy prices and the risk of gas shortages as the winter season approached (plan to reduce electricity and gas consumption, intervention in the regulation and operation of energy markets, evaluation of “price cap” mechanisms for energy prices).
In the fourth quarter of 2022, the price of gas fell to around €80 per megawatt-hour, thanks to the achievement of the storage targets of the major European countries, although it was seven times higher than the level observed at the beginning of 2021.

Financial Services

Based on the estimates provided by the Italian Banking Association (ABI), at the end of 2022 customer deposits of total banks in Italy, represented by resident customer deposits (current accounts, certificates of deposit and repurchase agreements) and bonds, decreased by 1.2% year-on-year to about €2,044 billion: compared to December 2021, deposits decreased by about €24 billion, while bond deposits remained essentially unchanged at around €209 billion
In December 2022, the average cost of bank funding (which includes the return on deposits, bonds and repos from households and non-financial companies) was around 0.62% (0.44% in December 2021).
Bank loans in 2022 increased by about €6 billion and the aggregate of loans to the private sector in December 2022 stood at €1,479 billion, a positive annual change of 1.8%. The component of loans to households and non-financial companies was slightly more dynamic, increasing by 2.1% year-on-year in December 2022.
During 2022 there was an acceleration in the trend of interest rates on outstanding loans to households (from 2.13% to 3.22%), similarly for rates on new business transactions (from 1.18% to 3.44%) and for new loans to households for house purchases (from 1.4% to 3.09%).

Assogestion data show total assets of €2,212 billion at 31 December 2022, down 14.7% from €2,594 billion at the end of 2021 (a result strongly influenced by the negative performance of the financial markets during the reporting period).

In terms of net funding, the asset management industry has a positive balance of approximately €14.9 billion in 2022 (compared to €93 billion in 2021).

Insurance Services

Life business

The new individual life insurance policies in the Italian market, based on the latest available data, amounted to approximately €76.8 billion at the end of December 2022, a negative change of 12.8% compared to 2021. If new Life premiums reported by EU companies is also taken into account, the figure reached €88.1 billion, down 16.4% compared to 2021.

Analysing the data by line of business, premiums from Branch I, which confirmed its leading role in the life business with a 66% share of the total at the end of December 2022 (up from 59% in 2021) amounted to €50.3 billion at the end of December 2022, -3.3% compared to the previous year. Compared to the figure at the end of December 2021, premium income from Branch III products (in the form of exclusive unit linked products) fell by 30.5% with inflows of €23.6 billion. Although residual, inflows from capitalisation products amounted to €1.1 billion and increased by 8.6% during the period compared to the end of December 2021, mainly attributable to the performance of collective policies (+26%). The volumes of new premiums relating to long-term health policies (Class IV) continued to be limited (approximately €85 million), and up (+8.9%) compared to 2021.

New contributions relating to the management of pension funds recorded inflows of €1.6 billion, an increase (+80%) compared to 2021.

Single premiums continued to be the preferred form of payment for policyholders, representing 94.4% of total premiums written and 58.7% of policies by number.

With regard to the distribution channel, 63.3% of new business was brokered through banks and post offices until the end of December 2022, with premium revenue of €48.6 billion, a decrease (-9.3%) compared to 2021. On the other hand, with regard to the entire agency channel, the volume of new business distributed reached €15.5 billion, marking a decline in volumes of 6.8% compared to 2021 and with an incidence on total intermediated business of 20.2%.

The performance of new business obtained through qualified financial consultants was €11.2 billion, down considerably (-28.8%) compared with the amount placed in the previous year and with an incidence compared to the total of intermediated premiums equal to 14.6%.
Finally, the broker and distance sales channel recorded a decline of 31.9% in the period compared to 2021, with a volume of premiums placed of €1.4 billion (or 1.9% of the total brokered).

P&C business

As regards the P&C insurance market, based on the available official data at the end of the third quarter of 2022, total direct Italian premiums, also including policies sold by Italian and overseas undertakings, amounted to €29 billion, up 6.3% compared with the same period of 2021, when the sector recorded growth of 2.8%. The aforementioned increase is attributable, in particular, to the recovery of the Non-Motor class (+11.6%), while premiums in the Motor class remained broadly stable (-0.5%). With reference to the latter, there was a 2% decrease in premiums for motor third party liability insurance, while premiums for the land vehicle hull insurance line grew by 5.1%.

With regard to the Non-Motor class, all the main insurance classes contributed to the aforementioned 11.6% growth during the period: i) Health insurance with a volume of €2,585 million and growth of 14.5%; ii) Personal injuries class with premiums of €2,692 million and an increase of 5.4%; iii) General TPL class with premiums of €3,424 million and an increase of 12.1%; iv) Other damage to property class with an increase of 10.6% and total volumes of €2,812 million; v) finally, Fire and natural elements class with a total production of €2,016 million and an increase of 7.1%.

As regards the distribution channels, the agency one is confirmed as the leader with a market share of 73% in line with the figure recorded in the same period of 2021. Brokers represent the second P&C premium distribution channel with a market share of 8.7% (8.4% at the end of September 2021), while bank and post office branches recorded a market share of 9.2% (8.3% in the first nine months of 2021).

As regards direct sales as a whole (including distance, telephone and internet sales), at the end of September 2022, there was an incidence of 8.7% (down compared to 9.5% in the corresponding period of 2021). The remaining 0.4% (equivalent to the figure at the end of September 2021) relates to premiums brokered by qualified financial consultants.