Italy was the first European country to be hit by COVID-19 and the first to enter lockdown in March 2020. It was among the most affected countries in the first outbreak and has also enforced some of the strictest vaccine mandates in Europe.

As a result, consumers in Italy report some of the highest levels of worsened mental health at 54%, compared to 29% in similar European countries like France and Germany. Clearly, the early impact and lingering effects of the pandemic have hit many people in Italy hard.

This has all led to a greater awareness of taking care of oneself. Just over half of consumers in Italy say they’re more conscious of looking after their physical health and mental health – ahead of similar European markets we’ve surveyed.

Turning our focus to the growth of wearables in Italy highlights how important technology is in managing health. In this market, ownership of a smartwatch or wristband has grown 41% since Q2 2020.


of Italian consumers own a smartwatch/ wristband, up from 20% in Q2 2020

Ownership of wearables is highest among younger generations, however, the biggest growth in ownership of smartwatches since Q2 2020 is actually among Gen X and baby boomers. For a country that has one of the oldest populations in the world, it’s encouraging to see that more older, high-risk consumers are turning to tech to manage their health.

Growth of wearables highest among older consumers in Italy

% in Italy who say they own a smartwatch or wristband

On top of this, Italy has some of the highest comfort with tech in Europe. For instance, 32% of consumers in Italy say they’re comfortable with apps tracking their activity (for walking or sleeping etc.), compared to just 18% in Germany and Austria. Comfort with apps tracking their activity has also grown 12% since Q2 2020. Italy also ranks fifth among eighteen European countries for trusting new technology to improve their health – 27% say this compared to a low of 17% in the UK.

As wearables become even more advanced, we’ll likely see uptake and comfort levels increase even further. Italy, with its aging population, is a prime market for the wearable sector – let’s watch this space.

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