Nordic consumers spent nearly 20 billion euros on online shopping in 2020, of which 90 percent were bought from other countries. However, several studies prove that providing a simple option to return products or services can have a positive influence on the number of website visitors and conversion rates. Learn more about the important issues in the booming Scandinavian e-commerce market.
The Swedish company Direct Link, an international-commerce logistic solutions provider, owned by PostNord, have operations and local personnel in Sweden, Germany, the UK, Poland, the US, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore and China. This year the company expands to the Netherlands and Turkey, as well as in Eastern Europe.
Digitally mature consumers
Consumers in the Nordic are in general digitally mature. A report from PostNord states that the pandemic significantly advanced the development towards online shopping, up to a quarter more than before the pandemic. The trend was, however, already well underway, with a big shift from physical stores to e-commerce well before 2020, driven by changing Nordic consumer habits.
Related: Scandinavian e-Commerce Trends 2022
The Nordic consumers want updates on logistics and the opportunity to have choices. The ability to choose the method and place of a return, such as a pickup point or collecting from home, can positively impact consumers’ purchase intentions, according to a 2019 PostNord report. PostNord is the largest provider of logistic solutions and geographical coverage in the Nordic countries. Their ownership gives access to more than 8,000 service points where online consumers can conveniently pick up what they ordered.
Nordic consumers are happy to buy from other countries and with Amazon now established in Sweden, in addition to already well-established players like Zalando, Wish, eBay and others, this trend is likely to continue.
The most provided delivery option is home delivery followed by delivery at a pickup point. Furthermore, evening delivery has proven to be a popular delivery option in Denmark and Finland and is offered by approximately 15% of Finnish retailers. Machine pickup points, automated parcel lockers where customers can collect and send packages are an up-and-coming delivery option in the Scandinavian countries. Although this option is not provided by e-retailers in Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Related: The Scandinavian e-Commerce Market
So, the Nordic market is obviously important. Since PostNord is a global company, it gives it the possibility to cooperate with a large number of established and skillful e-commerce operators throughout the world.
The most often bought products
The products most often bought online in the Nordics, as in other European countries, are clothing and footwear, followed closely by electronics and cosmetics, skin and hair care. Up to a quarter of Nordic consumers say that they have bought clothing or footwear online in the past year.
20-25% of e-retailers in Denmark and Finland offer machine pickup points. Around 60-80% of Scandinavian e-retailers offer returns via postal service, which is the most common return option. Returning a parcel at the physical store is also provided by 21% of Finnish e-retailers, however, not every e-retailer has a physical store or warehouse. Returning via a local return point is almost never used by Scandinavian e-retailers.
Important Issues in the Booming Scandinavian E-Commerce Market – read on….
Environment and sustainability
Environment and sustainability are issues that are highly topical and all players in the industry must be prepared to take responsibility to the best of their ability and will probably be a matter of survival more than anything else. DirectLink has published an annual report on European e-commerce since 2014, and the trend is obvious, companies are more and more environmentally concerned and consumers are willing to pay more for a more environment-friendly delivery.
More than 1,000 euros are spent in an average year by Swedish online consumers (well above the European average). This amount is not reserved just for fashion. A whole array of consumer goods are purchased by Nordic consumers via e-commerce, such as groceries, literature and audiobooks, home furnishings, dietary supplements, medication and other pharmaceuticals, sports and leisure products, as well as movies and entertainment and much more.
Related: Strong e-Commerce Growth For IKEA
A master thesis study from Chalmers University shows that Swedish e-commerce consumers do not prioritize short delivery times as the most important criterion when choosing home delivery. In addition, most of the respondents stated that they are willing to wait between 1–5 days extra in order to promote sustainable transport. This indicates that not all deliveries need to be treated equally in terms of delivery time but can be adapted and adjusted as needed. With this knowledge, the opportunity opens to be able to offer e-commerce consumers an economical and sustainable transport with a delivery time adapted to the real demand.
In Scandinavian countries, sustainability has become one of the most important social issues for consumers and companies. Whether through media or government regulation, Scandinavian consumers are now keener to make conscientious choices when shopping online.
A competitive advantage
So, in the years to come, companies that addresses these questions in a serious way will have a competitive advantage on top of doing the right thing as a start for a better reason. One challenge, though, is still that the interest varies very much around the globe related to making a change that matters. PostNord has been working actively for a number of years in order to try to limit its impact and has also managed to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% during the past ten years. The ambition is to become fossil fuel-free totally by 2030.
The Nordics certainly seem to enjoy the convenience of having products delivered to them. Apart from Finnish consumers, the vast majority of Nordic consumers prefer to have things delivered to their homes or P.O. boxes. In Finland, most consumers have a collection point close by, which might explain why more than 6 in 10 consumers there are happy to collect their purchases from a parcel locker or distribution hub.
The logistic companies that are best equipped to handle the above challenges will be the winners in the coming years.
Important Issues in the Booming Scandinavian E-Commerce Market, written by Tor Kjolberg