Artisanal gelato may now be a global product, but Europe has always had the lion’s share of the market. Indeed, gelato parlours can be found in 76 countries, on all continents, but Europe is well ahead of the pack. The European countries with the most gelato parlours and highest consumption of artisanal gelato are Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland, but figures are rising in others, such as Austria, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and increasingly Eastern Europe too.
In Europe, gelato sales have hit 9 billion euros, which is some 60% of the world market, with growth of about 5% in 2017, employing 300,000 staff.
Italy, which has historically led the world, now boasts about 39,000 gelato parlours (10,000 specialist points of sale plus 29,000 bars and pastry shops offering hand-crafted gelato) which employ about 150,000 staff and generate turnover of 2.7 billion euros, some 30% of the European market.
Germany has 9,000 gelato parlours (3,300 gelato specialists), with another 2,000 in Spain and 1,800 in Poland.
As for the rest of the world, outside Europe, in 2016 there were about 40,000 gelato parlours in such nations as Argentina, United States and Brazil, as well as growing Far Eastern markets such as China, Korea, Malaysia, while a large Italian community all across Australia produces gelato using artisanal methods.
In terms of turnover, the SIGEP Study Centre estimates that, globally, sales of artisanal gelato in 2016 exceeded 15 billion euros for the first time.