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E-commerce in the Nordics 2015

At a glance, one might presume the buying behaviour of all Nordic consumers is the same. However, despite their close proximity geographically these four countries have four different languages, four currencies, various payment preferences and unique consumer habits. With more than 15 million consumers online in the Nordic region, we discuss the factors you should be aware of when entering the e-commerce market in the Nordics.

In terms of area, the Nordic region is larger than Germany, the UK and Italy combined. Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland have a high aggregate GDP and, taken together, represent the sixth largest economy in Europe.

The below data is taken from the recent ‘E-commerce in The Nordics Study 2015’ published by PostNord. 

Shopping online and the Nordic consumer

According to PostNord, on average, 12.4 million Nordic residents shopped online during each quarter of 2014. Sweden represents the largest share with nearly 5 million e-commerce consumers, while other Nordic countries are close behind with between 2.3 million and 2.7 million e-commerce consumers every quarter.

One-third of Nordic residents shop online each month with Danes being the most frequent e-commerce consumers; with two in five stating the shop online at least once a month. In contrast, only one in five shopped online at least once a month in Finland.

Nordic e-commerce has been valued at EUR 15.4 billion. Swedish e-commerce consumers spent the most (nearly EUR 6bn) in 2014, followed by Norwegian consumers (approximately EUR 3.9bn). Ecommerce value was just over EUR 3.2 billion in Denmark and approximately EUR 2.4 billion in Finland.

What are the online purchase motivations? Nordic residents shop online because it’s easy to do so – it’s flexible, convenient and saves time. Nordic residents perceive online shopping to offer better prices and selection than shopping in physical stores.

Price appears to lose significance as a key factor in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

E-commerce purchases from foreign sites in 2014 total over EUR 4 billion

Shopping online from foreign sites is popular in the Nordic region.  Swedes and Norwegians spend the most on online purchases from foreign sites: over EUR1.2 billion for each country in 2014. An average of 42 per cent of Nordic residents shopped online from foreign sites during each quarter in 2014.

When Nordic residents buy products online from foreign sites, online stores from the UK remain the most popular. On average 41 per cent of Nordic residents who shopped online from foreign sites bought from sites based in the UK – with 50 per cent of Danish e-commerce consumers doing so. The USA and Germany are almost tied up for second place, while China is also starting to edge up towards the same levels.

Payment methods

Debit and credit cards are the most popular form of payment for e-commerce transactions, and are preferred over invoices in all Nordic countries.

However, there are huge variations between countries in terms of the percentage of consumers who prefer to use particular payment methods. While debit and credit cards are most popular, more than twice as many Danes as Swedes prefer this payment method. Sweden and Finland, on other hand, report much greater preference for paying directly via bank than other Nordic countries.

Desired delivery time

The average acceptable delivery time is 4.3 days. One in ten Nordic residents expect to receive their products within 1-2 working days. A maximum of 3.3 working days is acceptable in Demark for delivery, with the majority expecting to receive their products within 1-2 working days.

Home delivery is the most popular method of delivery followed by delivery to a partner outlet.

 

Source: PostNord E-commerce in The Nordics Study 2015