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Market trends The activities of the Poste Italiane Group set within the Italian macro-economic context.ctivities of the Poste Italiane Group set within the Italian macro-economic context.

Mail & Parcel

With reference to the postal market in particular, it is undergoing a period of radical change, mainly due to the digital transformation, which has influenced volumes of mail and packages in circulation. In terms of macro-trends, the continuous structural decrease in volumes of traditional mail, replaced by digital forms of communication (email, instant messaging, etc.), has been accompanied by a significant increase in the volume of parcels shipped.

More specifically, for the mail market, after the significant drop in volume in 2020 (-18% with respect to 2019), substantial stability continue for 2021.

In the parcel market, e-commerce continues to be the main driver of growth: in recent years online commerce has seen notable growth and is beginning to establish itself as a new habit for purchases/sales, in part thanks to new choices caused by the health emergency. These include: greater digital consumer education, overcoming of barriers to online purchases, increase in web shoppers, digitalisation of traditional retailers and a tendency to develop e-commerce channels integrated with the physical
experience. For the Italian parcel segment:
  • the volume of parcels per capita increased in 2020, rising to 6 units from 4 in 201917. It is estimated that the volume of parcels per capital will double in 2021 compared to 201918. Moreover, the percentage of online retail purchases went from 4% in 2015 to over 9% in 2020, reaching about 10% in 202119, with additional growth margins compared with the rates recorded in the main European countries
  • in 2021 the positive trend for e-commerce has continued, although with a natural decline in the growth rate with respect to 2020; in fact, 2021 shows more contained growth in the sector with respect to that seen in 2020, but still higher than the pre-pandemic period, due to the continued demand for e-commerce deliveries at higher levels than those seen in the past
  • Poste Italiane is currently one of the main operators in the market with a market share (B2C) that exceeds 30%.

Payments & Mobile

The most recently available figures for the Italian payment card market show growth in total domestic transactions which in September 2021 amounted to around € 226 billion (+23% with respect to September 2020), exceeding pre-pandemic levels. The total number of transactions, amounting to €4.7 billion, increased by 37% with respect to the same period the previous year thanks to greater adoption of payment cards (e-commerce payments and contactless), with a notable reduction in average transaction tickets.

Debit card transactions grew by 49% compared to September 2020 and represent over half of total transactions, with a transacted amount of € 128 billion (+31% compared to September 2020).

Prepaid cards continue to growth at a rapid pace with transaction volumes up by 33% and transacted amounts up by 23% with respect to September 2020, for a total of €38 billion, in part thanks to the constant growth of e-commerce and the increased penetration of physical sales points.

An increase was also seen in transactions and volumes involving credit cards & with a positive change of 14% and 6.9%, respectively, compared to September 2020.

At 30 September 2021, the number of active cards in the market amounted to nearly 96 million, registering an increase of 2.1% compared to the stock of cards outstanding at 31 December 2020. The greatest growth was recorded on prepaid cards whose stock stood at 33 million, up 3.6% on December 2020. There was also a slight increase for debit cards (+1.7% vs December 2020) with over 47 million active cards and for credit cards (+0.6% vs December 2020) with 15.4 million active cards 30 September 2021.

Based on the latest available figures44, mobile telephony market penetration shows total mobile lines representing around 179% of the population, with virtual mobile operators (MVNO)45 representing 18.2%46. The total number of lines at 30 September 2021 amounted to 105.8 million, including  approximately 27.9 million Machine to Machine (M2M) SIM & cards. PosteMobile, with a total market share of approximately 4.3%, accounts for around 42% of the total customers of mobile virtual network operators.

Financial Services

On the basis of estimates provided by the Italian Banking Association (ABI), at 31 December 2021, customer deposits of the total number of banks in Italy, represented by deposits to resident customers (in current account, deposit certificates and repurchase agreements) and bonds, increased by 5.4%  annually to approximately €2,063 billion (+€105 billion compared to 31 December 2020). This dynamic stemmed from the significant increase in deposits from resident customers, amounting to approximately €110 billion (+6.6% y/y), and was accompanied by a reduction of around €9 billion in bond deposits (-4.4% compared to 2020).

In December 2021, the average cost of bank funding (which includes the return on deposits, bonds and repurchase agreements from households and non-financial companies) was around 0.45% (0.45% as at 31 December 2020).

Bank loans in 2021 increased overall by around €6 billion and the aggregate of private sector loans at December 2021 was €1,463 billion, representing an annual variation of +1.6%. The component of loans to households and non-financial companies recorded a 2.5% year-on-year increase in December 2021.

In 2021, there was a slight decrease in interest rates on outstanding loans to households and businesses (from 2.28% to 2.16%) and substantial stability in rates on new business transactions (from 1.38% to 1.29%), while there was an increase in rates on new loans to households for home purchases (from 1.25% to 1.40%).

Assogestioni figures at 31 December 2021, showed total assets of € 2,594 billion, compared to € 2,422 billion at the end of December 2020 (+7.1%, as a result of the positive contribution of inflows of +3.8% and performance of +3.3%).

With regard to Portfolio Management, assets totalled approximately € 1,243 billion, up with respect to the amounts at the end of December 2020 (€ 1,220 billion, +1.9%, substantially due to the positive contribution of funding). With regard to Collective asset management, assets went from about € 1,202 billion at the end of December 2020 to about € 1,351 billion at the end of December 2021 (+12.4%).

With regard to open-ended mutual investment funds alone, customer assets at the end of December 2021 amounted to approximately €1,273 billion (approximately €1,133 billion at the end of December 2020, +12.3%, as a result of the positive contribution of inflows of +5.8% and performance of +6.5%). In terms of net inflows, the asset management industry recorded a total positive balance of about €93 billion in 2021 (about +14.8 billion in 2020).

Insurance Services

Life business
The new individual life insurance policies, amounting to approximately € 88.1 billion at the end of 2021, recorded a 4.6% increase compared to 2020. If new Life premiums reported by EU companies are also taken into account, the figure reached €105.4 billion, up 9.5% compared to 2020.

Analysing the figures by class of insurance, Class I premiums amount to € 52 billion at the end of December 2021, down 5.9% compared to the previous year. The performance of Class III products (in the exclusive unit-linked & form) was up sharply (+38.7%) compared to 2020, with inflows of € 34 billion. Residual inflows were from capitalisation products (€1 billion) which fell sharply in the year (-37.4%) compared to the figures at the end of December 2020. The volume of new premiums relating to long-term health policies (Class IV) continued to be limited (approximately €78 million), despite recording a sharp increase (+14.4%) compared to December 2020.

New contributions relating to the management of pension funds & in 2021 recorded inflows of €879 million, a decrease (-66.5%) compared to 2020.

Single premiums continued to be the preferred form of payment for policyholders, representing 94.8% of total premiums written and 58.3% of policies by number.

With regard to the distribution channel, around 60.8% of new business in 2021 was obtained through banks and post offices, with premium revenue of €53.6 billion, down slightly (-1.7%) compared to 2020. With regard to the entire agency channel, however, the volume of new business distributed reached €16.6 billion in 2021, substantially in line with the figure for 2020 and with an incidence on total intermediated business of 18.9%.

The performance of new business obtained through qualified financial consultants was €11.3 billion, down (+38.9%) compared with the figure for the previous year and with an incidence compared to the total of intermediated premiums equal to 17.9%.

Finally, the broker and distance sales channel recorded growth at the end of 2021 of +51.1% compared to 2020, with a volume of premiums placed of €2.1 billion (or 2.4% of the total brokered)

P&C business
Relative to the P&C insurance market, total direct Italian premiums, also including policies sold in Italy by Italian companies and by overseas undertakings, based on the most recently available official data (source: ANIA39) at the end of the third quarter of 2021, totalled € 27.3 billion, up 2.8% compared to the same period of 2020, when the sector, while recovering slightly from the lockdown imposed to confront the spread of the pandemic, recorded a fall of 3%. The above increase is mainly attributable to the non-Motor sector (+5.9%), while premiums in the Motor sector remained more or less stable (-0.9%). With reference to the latter, the reduction in premiums in the motor TPL class fell by 3.6%, while the land vehicle class benefited from growth of 10%.

With reference to the non-Motor class, the aforementioned growth of 5.9% was the result of the main insurance classes i) the Health class, with volumes of € 2,255 million and a growth of 7.6%; ii) the Personal Injuries class, with premiums of € 2,556 million and an increase of 4.8%; iii) the General TPL class, with premiums of € 3,037 million and an increase of 4.4%; iv) the Property damage class with an increase of 6.3% and volumes of € 2,493 million; v) finally, the Fire class, with total business of € 1,908 million and a growth of 5.5%.

As regards the distribution channels, the agency one is confirmed as the leader with a market share of 73.4%, down slightly on the figure recorded in the same period of 2020 of 74.3%. Brokers represent the second P&C premium distribution channel with a market share of 8.4% (8.7% at the end of  September 2020), while bank and post office branches recorded a market share of 8.3% (7.3% in the first nine months of 2020).

As regards direct sales as a whole (including distance, telephone and internet sales), at the end of September 2021, there was an incidence of 9.5% (9.3% in the corresponding period of 2020). The remaining 0.4% (0.3% at the end of September 2020) refers to premiums brokered by qualified financial advisors.