Denmark, Norway and Sweden’s e-commerce markets are growing exponentially. These are thus countries of high interest for e-retailers to expand to. Scandinavia is also frontrunner, leading the way for the rest of Europe in technology and sustainability. Learn more about Scandinavian e-commerce trends 2022.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies were forced to move their business online. Some of them found the juicy fruits of e-commerce and kept focusing on online, even though the pandemic restrictions ended and it allowed them to get back to the offline.
M-commerce, or mobile commerce, is definitely the trend that should be at the very beginning of this article. The strength of smartphones and tablets is on rising and so is the popularity of shopping via phones. More than half of all purchases will be done via phones! Do you have your web-shop optimized for AMP? If not, we would highly recommend you to put it as priority number one. M-commerce is all about speed
We are currently experiencing business moving online. It may be thanks to the world pandemic situation, it may be due to technological developments or it may be just a natural process of business evolution. If we take a look at the numbers, we see that the growth of the e-commerce industry is continuously accelerating.
The Scandinavian countries have been very early adopters of the internet and have a highly developed infrastructure. Online shopping is extremely popular in the region, yet research reveals that there is still growth potential here.
The process of entering the Scandinavian e-commerce market can be challenging with several obstacles. Scandinavian consumers are not easily attracted to foreign websites. The reasons may be foreign language or reluctancy to shopping at foreign web-shops.
Related: The Scandinavian e-Commerce Market
Native language is important
Even if Scandinavians in general speak English almost fluently, translating a website into the native language of the country directly contributes to local success. This mainly has to do with consumer trust in a website. If it is in their own language, the look and feel are familiar, and the consumer will be more inclined to trust the e-retailer and thus place an order. Alongside translation and local customer service, currencies, and practices, local payment, and delivery options must be considered (PostNord, 2016).
PostNord and Direct Link have published the E-commerce in Europe 2021 report, where many similarities in terms of ecommerce consumer behavior and preferences between the Nordic countries are seen. The four Nordic countries (including Finland) have the highest proportion of consumers shopping from abroad when compared to all twelve markets studied in the report. Another similarity is that they all have German fashion online retailer Zalando as number one when it comes to marketplaces they make purchases from.
In Scandinavia, the most common payment methods e-retailers provide are credit card and debit card of local bank transactions via the web-shop. Online banking is also a popular payment method, especially in Sweden (almost 70% of most visited web-shop provide this option). The tool After Pay is provided by more than 50% of e-retailers in Norway and Sweden. Not offering the preferred payment methods of a consumer base is known to be a reason not to shop at foreign web-shops (Statista, 2021), and is thus very important in an e-retailer’s localization strategy per country.
The Scandinavian countries have quite a lot of strong domestic brands, and large marketplaces established themselves later in Scandinavia than in many other European countries. Over the past several years, we’ve seen many major global brands go completely global in some parts of the world. Disney, one of the world’s biggest brand names, recently closed all their in-person stores in north America, and many others have done the same. In fact, in 2019, for the first time, Amazon overtook brick and mortar retailers in several key areas.
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 (PostNord, 2019).
The most provided delivery option is home delivery followed by delivery at a pickup point. Furthermore, evening delivery is proven to be a popular delivery option in Denmark. 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 Norway and Sweden, 20-25% of e-retailers in Denmark offer machine pickup points. Around 60-80% of Scandinavian e-retailers offer returns via postal service, which is the most common return option. Returning via a local return point is almost never used by Scandinavian e-retailers.
Related: Strong e-Commerce Growth for IKEA
Privacy and security policy
As of 1 July 2021, a new VAT rule for international e-commerce is applied throughout the EU Single Market. This rule states that all imported goods from non-EU countries are taxed with VAT. Although Norway is not a member of the European Union, the country is part of the European Free Trade Association and member of the European Economic Area. Norway must therefore comply with the same terms as the other European Union members and is an equal partner in the internal market.
To maintain the trust of the consumer and their data, a security trust mark can be implemented on the website, preferably shown on the homepage of the website.
Sustainability has played a big role in the last few years and it has also entered the e-commerce industry. Due to packaging for delivering products to the customer, there is more waste produced. Consumers are more interested in products whose production, packaging and delivery process is sustainable. According to the European E-commerce report 2021 for all countries in the EU, customers are more likely to buy products that are made and delivered in a sustainable way. The difference between countries is at the point where the customers have to pay extra for that. Western and northern countries are willing to pay extra for sustainable products while other countries with lower GDP per capita are not. Anyways, the number of customers who are supporting sustainability in e-commerce is increasing year by year in every country. We can’t say if sustainability will be the trend of 2022, but it certainly has its importance in e-commerce and at the same time it is an attractive topic for a huge part of consumers.
Related: E-Commerce in Scandinava
Advertising, posting to social media and other kinds of digital marketing are a good way to be seen. But once someone gives you permission to access their email inbox with your message, you’ve got a real relationship going.
Email marketing has changed a lot over the years. These days, it’s all about them – not what you want to say. But for brands that can find the right words, offers and experiences to deliver by email, the sky is still the limit for this digital marketing strategy.
Many brands, in the past, have used loyalty programs to track their customer’s spending and shopping habits. But when you’re operating in an e-commerce world, it makes sense to take it to the next level. Membership programs not only track and reward loyalty but are the ultimate kind of personalized marketing. Whether it’s member only discounts or free shipping, member perks are a big draw. Just ask Amazon. Prime has been one of their biggest success stories.
Most people don’t watch TV anymore though. Those that do use streaming or their PVR, so old fashioned advertising tends to fall flat.
People don’t want to be sold to anymore anyway. They want to connect and engage with brands that they relate to. They want to know who you are, what matters to you, and why they should care.
Which is why brands that tell real, genuine stories are the ones that are rising to the top. It’s not enough to be a soulless corporation with a big ad budget anymore. If you want to get under your customers’ skin, you have to let them see under yours first.
This is a little bit of a conundrum for digital marketers because search engines sill use text-based content for their algorithms. Consumers, however, love video content more than ever before. Product demos, clever “hacks” and even blooper reels are some of the most viewed, shared, and liked content on the internet right now. That shows no sign of slowing either.
Are cookies a trend? No, cookies themselves are not a trend, just a necessary part of the user’s data processing. But the way you offer options to users about which data you can process, which not and how you will do that is a key to building trust with the customer. Show users respect for their privacy and allow them to feel comfortable on your web-shop. Understanding this method will help businesses build a brand’s good reputation and potentially gain long-term relationships with customers.
Sweden is the largest e-commerce market in Scandinavia. Sweden is also the third largest country in the EU by area, has the eight highest per capita income in the world, and spends a little under 9 billion Euros online every year. Quite a figure for a country with a population of only 10 million people.
The reason is evident: Swedes have a lot of disposable income, and they like to spend it online. Which makes it perfect for ecommerce businesses.
Most people in Sweden prefer to buy from large marketplaces. It’s the convenience of going to one site, and being able to buy clothes, electronics, health products and pet stuff in the same place, and that’s not going to change soon! So, while you can have a standalone store, you should consider selling on sites like Selected Scandinavian Web-shops (launched by Daily Scandinavian soon).
When Google introduced “Mobilegeddon” in 2015, some people were surprised that they chose to penalize websites that weren’t mobile friendly. However, since more than half of all global web traffic comes from mobile devices and over 60% of global online purchases in 2020 were made on a mobile device. Source: statista.com
We’re not only shopping on different devices either. With social networks hopping on the bandwagon and creating their own ecommerce offerings, more people are buying from stores on social platforms too.
Sweden is different from Norway and Denmark, by not having Clothing and footwear as the number one category.
As shoppers around the world get more used to shopping online as the norm rather than the exception, they’re starting to expect the same or similar experiences everywhere.
Sweden is very concerned about omnichannel marketing. It means that if you sell online, in a real-world store and from an app, all of the customer experiences should be similar. Many ecommerce tech providers are already on the omnichannel bandwagon, and with clever tools like geolocated push notifications, you can integrate some of your digital marketing methods into a real-world experience – and vice versa.
There are many people in Sweden who deride so called influencers. Some say that it’s not a real career. Others make snide comments about doing things “for the gram.” But there’s no denying that influencers have a huge, captive audience. Which makes them one of the best marketing channels out there.
Not only do influencers usually speak directly to a defined niche, but their whole brand is about their lifestyle. So, if your product fits that lifestyle, and your target market fits their niche, influencers are a match made in marketing heaven.
Denmark is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries. GDP of this country in 2019 reached US$348.08 billion. It was the lowest score among all Scandinavian countries, but it doesn’t mean that its GDP is critically low. Denmark is placed at the 37th (globally) in the case of nominal GDP.
In 2021, Denmark was number one in DESI, the European Commission´s Digital and Society Index. This means that the country is considered as the most mature digital economy in the EU.
When it comes to ecommerce, Denmark is doing quite well. Last year its ecommerce market was placed as the 29th largest ecommerce in the world.
In Denmark the top three categories are Clothing and footwear, Home electronics and Cosmetics and skin care.
Norway was a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but isn’t part of the European Union, although the country was twice invited. Norway also doesn’t have the euro, instead it uses the Norwegian krone as its currency.
Norway has a very high share of people being online. According to data from Statistics Norway, the share of population aged 16 to 79 that used the internet during the last months was at 98 percent in 2019. The same study shows that 31 percent used the internet for selling goods or services, while 41 percent bought films or music online, 45 percent ordered clothes and sports goods and 61 percent bought travel or holiday accommodation online.
In 2018, the estimated amount per person spent online in an average month was 210 euros. This corresponds to 2,522 euros per year. And according to data from Statistics Norway, 92 percent of the population aged 16-79 uses a smartphone.
In Norway the top three are Clothing and footwear, Cosmetics and skin care and Pharmacy products.
When it comes to paying for the products ordered online, many consumers in Norway like to pay with credit card. This method is more popular than VIPPS, invoice or PayPal. Card payments account for 52 percent of preferred payment methods, with VIPPS following at 21 percent.
More Norwegian women than men are fond of invoice, but more men than women are keen on PayPal and ApplePay.
Based on data from J. P. Morgan, e-commerce in Norway was worth EUR13.8 billion (US$15.8 billion in 2019). In Norway, the most popular product category is formed by clothing and shoes (36 percent). This is followed by consumer electronics and media (both 25 percent), sports & leisure (14 percent), beauty & health, furniture, and groceries (all at 10 percent) and baby & toys (6 percent).
Some of the most popular and biggest online stores in Norway are consumer electronics store Komplett.no, consumer electronics retailer Elkjøp (known as Elgiganten otuside Norway) and online grocery store Kolonial.no.
Scandinavian e-commerce trends 2022 – to sum up
Localization is one of the most important factors to be successful in global e-commerce. Despite Scandinavian countries often being lumped together under one umbrella, localization is crucial if one wants to be truly successful in these e-commerce markets. These differences may seem slight, but they are important to take into consideration in a global e-commerce strategy.
Scandinavian e-commerce trends 2022, compiled by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top) © Global Banking & Finance Review