A careful market analysis can not avoid the analysis of three different aspects:
- the macroeconomic environment;
- the population;
- the entrepreneurial fabric.
With regard to the macroeconomic environment, the real Gross Domestic Product of Sardinia in 2015 marked a 0.5% decrease, falling to 18,539 Euros per inhabitant. The negative performance of the GDP is a direct consequence of the decrease measured in two variables: expenditure on household consumption and enterprise investment. Throughout the country, the loss of purchasing power is worsening. Investments by companies are most affected by the recession. A positive mark for Sardinia is related to the number of productive activities. The registered active companies in 2016 are 142,986, about 400 more than the previous year.
From a sector perspective, the region confirms its agricultural vocation, both in the number of enterprises (about 34,000, or 34% of the total), and in their ability to create added value (5% in Sardinia vs. 2% in Italy) In 2016, foreign trade experienced a contraction for both the import and export markets. Oil exports fell by 487 million euros (-12.5%) following the crash of crude oil prices, while the rest of the economy generally shows little inclination towards internationalization. The two single sectors whose exports exceed 100 million euros, basic chemistry and dairy industry, also suffered a 10% contraction.
Regarding the population, 2016 data show a resident population of 1,653,135 inhabitants. There has been a slight decrease compared to the years 2014-2015. The demographic structure is characterised by a greater concentration of the female component in middle-aged classes, especially in those related to the working age population.
Finally, as regards the entrepreneurial fabric, Infocamere Sardegna registered 167,548 existing companies in the 3rd quarter of 2015, out of which 142,937 are declared active. Most companies operate in the commercial and primary sectors, followed by the construction and industrial sectors. Among the services, the largest concentration of businesses is in fields of hospitality and catering. Entrepreneurial density has fallen steadily since 2009, though it remains higher than the other southern regions of Italy. However, interaction with foreign markets is worsening. There was a strong contraction of foreign trade due to a simultaneous slowdown in imports. This negative result is to be attributed to the weak performance of the oil sector. On the contrary, the presence of the metallurgical market in foreign markets is growing.
Nevertheless, it is good to remember one last thing: Sardinia is a land of innovation.
As widely summed up by the Europe 2020 strategy, Sardinia aims to invest in a smart specialization model based on high-value-added growth sectors that are compatible with sustainable development pathways: from tourism to agro-food, from ICT to biotechnology to the green economy.
However, notwithstanding the cyclic trends of the economy, the island has a reactive productive, economic, social and institutional system that is prepared to cope with the economic recovery and to interact with the markets that will come. This is why active investment and policies have been planned; these policies are aimed at stimulating the development of a dynamic and innovative entrepreneurial fabric capable of creating economic growth and enhancing the local work force.
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