Ecommerce in Nordic Area: Affluent Market, Appetite for Foreign Goods

Scandinavia is an affluent market with an appetite for foreign goods. The Nordic area — Scandinavia — encompasses Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Individually, each country might not appear to be an attractive cross-border chance for merchants. Combined, the population is only 26 million.

But, Nordic ecommerce is mostly driven by foreign merchants that provide consumers access to goods which they are otherwise not able to find in local physical shops. The only country with a strong domestic online merchant existence is Sweden, but cross-border shopping is extremely widespread there as well. Just about all Scandinavians speak English but they prefer to find sites in their native languages.

PostNord, the Swedish postal service, is a supplier of logistics and communications solutions in the Nordic area. According to”E-commerce from the Nordics 2017″ (PDF), PostNord’s comprehensive analysis, the area generated US$23.7 billion in ecommerce earnings in 2016.

What follows are additional insights from the PostNord report.


While credit and debit cards are the preferred payment methods in Denmark and Norway, Swedish consumers prefer payment after a statement has been introduced or direct payment via bank transfer. In Finland, customers equally use credit or debit cards and direct payment using a bank transfer.


Scandinavians enjoy numerous options for getting their goods. Most nations have 24/7-accessible self-serve parcel machines. This option is very popular among Finns. Distribution points (normally a partnership with a physical store) are very popular in most of the countries, especially in Sweden where 37 percent of online consumers prefer to receive their products this way.

Cross-border Ecommerce

Over one-third of online consumers in the Nordic area make monthly purchases from international ecommerce sites. Consumers in Finland and Norway are more inclined to buy from outside the area than those in Sweden and Denmark, where more nationally online alternatives are readily available.

In 2016, purchases from overseas merchants accounted for 25 percent of total ecommerce expenditures from the Nordic countries. For Swedes and Norwegians, the United Kingdom and China are the most popular countries to buy from, while Danes favor the United Kingdom and Germany. For Finns, Germany and China are the most popular sources. Norwegians are most likely to buy from U.S. merchants.

Apparel and footwear are the most popular online buy products, followed by consumer electronics. Beauty and wellness products are popular amongst younger people.

Facebook is the most popular social networking platform in Scandinavia. YouTube also has a solid user base. But, Scandinavians rely on email over any other type of communication so promotion via this system reaches a wider audience.

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Sweden has the largest population of the Scandinavian countries with 9.9 million individuals. Sixty-seven percent of the whole population bought goods online in 2016. Males and females store online at exactly the exact same frequency. Sweden has the lowest rate of cross-border online buying — 29 percent — since Sweden has more nationally online merchants than other countries in the region. Eighty-three percent of Swedes anticipate free returns and 75 percent anticipate one-to-two day shipping. Sweden is the most advanced country in the Nordic region concerning mobile commerce.

Webgallerian is a Swedish online market relaunched this month with a more customer-friendly platform. Ingemar Gleissman, founder and C.E.O. of Webgallerian, says that the company wants to be the Amazon or even Alibaba of the Nordic area. The goal is to make the largest online market with approximately 2,000 e-retailers and over 3 million products.

Now, there are over 140 Swedish online shops on the website that offer over 425,000 products. The website provides a station mainly for smaller merchants and offers payment and logistics assistance to them.

Webgallerian, a Swedish online market, wants to be the Amazon or even Alibaba of the region.


Norway has a population of 5.3 million. Home electronics and clothing are among Norwegians’ favorite products to buy online. The country has the second greatest proportion of shoppers with 65 percent of the populace purchasing online. Forty-two percent of the populace makes online purchases outside the nation.

Norwegians value many different delivery mechanisms, including the ability to pick up a product in a partnering brick-and-mortar shop. Free returns and free shipping are important to Norwegians. Just 40 percent believe that a mobile-friendly site is vital.

Norway is the only Nordic country that’s not a member of the E.U. Hence it has its own regulations for value-added tax and import duties. Generally speaking, international merchants are exempt from VAT.


Denmark has a population of 5.7 million. More than 90 percent of taxpayers made online purchases — girls aged 30–45 years were the most frequent. Thirty-two percent of Danes make online purchases outside the country. Eighty percent believe free returns to be significant. Sixty-three percent shop online each month.

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Finland’s population is 5.5 million. Finns like to buy from outside the Nordic area because of lower prices and a huge range of products. Finland has the highest proportion of cross-border shoppers at 46 percent of the populace.

Just 20 percent of online shoppers use mobile devices to make purchases. This is a particularly low percentage considering that Nokia, one of the earliest mobile phone vendors, is based in Finland.

Finns like to purchase do-it-yourself assembly kits and outdoor and sporting goods. Finnish merchants typically pay return shipping fees as it was required by law. Therefore 80 percent of Finns believe free returns to be quite important. The country has the highest rate of returns in the area with a 14 percent monthly return speed.

Take Away

Merchants already selling in Western Europe may locate the Nordic market a fantastic addition. The population is booming, speaks English, and is excited for foreign goods.

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