All you need to know when expanding your online shop to the Nordics

Posted: 1. November 2016-Likes: 1-Comments: 0-Categories: Ikke kategoriseret

All you need to know when expanding your online shop to the Nordics

There are both differences and similarities between the four Nordic countries, that you need to be aware of when expanding your online shop into the Nordics. We provide you with valuable insights about the Nordic market here.

More than 40% of Nordic online shoppers made a purchase in a foreign online shop last year. Especially Norwegians and Swedes have adopted online shopping rather quickly, as they have a long solid history with distance trading, where people living in outlying areas shopped via mail order firms as geography made getting into the cities to shop too difficult and time-consuming.

«We speak from experience when talking about similarities and differences between the Nordic countries, as we ourselves has expanded our company within that region in the years from 1997 to 2011. We have a profound interest in national and international delivery trends and tendencies and we base our knowledge on shipment data generated by our more than 10,000 customers worldwide. Some patterns look the same in all countries, but geography and trust have historically affected choice of carrier service and freight rate level, « says Steffen Pasgaard, Vice President in Consignor.

Read more: 10 simple tips on how to succeed with delivery in the Scandinavian market

Important similarities and differences are gathered in the table below. Based on data from PostNord’s report « Ecommerce in the Nordics »:

Sweden Norway Denmark Finland
Favorite thing to buy online Clothes, footwear Clothes, footwear Clothes, footwear Clothes, footwear
Most used delivery method Collect at drop-point Collect at drop-point Collect at drop-point Collect at drop-point
% of returns 12% 7% 9% 18%
Personality Sensitive, political correct Reserved, quiet Large, outgoing Relaxed, patriotic
Member of the EU Yes No Yes Yes

Roughly the culture and language in the four Nordic countries is alike, except for the Finnish language, which is very much unlike the three other countries’ languages. People from the Nordics understand English well, why foreign retailers do not necessarily need to worry about translating their website into local languages at first. A poorly translated website will evoke more distrust among people in the Nordics than an English site, which is worth while considering if expanding your online shop to the Nordics.

What the Nordic similarities and differences mean to foreign retailers
As well as most other ecommerce markets, Nordic consumers mostly buy clothes and footwear online and they prefer to collect their delivery at some kind of drop point. However, there are still differences between the four countries that you need to be aware of when expanding your online shop into the Nordics.

People from the Nordics look differently on the speed of the delivery due to big differences in geography and demography.  In Denmark people are used to next day service all over the country and there is a huge competition in the freight rates. In Norway people accept an extended delivery period and it is common that freight costs are high.

Read more : Consumer revolution puts pressure on nordic carriers


The personality of the population in the different Nordic countries also varies a lot. People in the different countries does not share the same sense of humor nor the same political considerations, meaning that marketing campaigns may be perceived differently by the four nationalities. This is probably one of the the most important differences to be aware of when expanding into the Nordics. Besides this, research shows that Swedish and Finnish online shoppers tend to return their purchase more often, why retailers have to establish attractive return options and efficient return procedures towards especially these two markets. Danes and Norwegians returning their purchase rarer does not necessarily mean that they do not expect the return options in the first place though.

Read more : What are the most common shortfalls in returns?


To sum up, it is only fair to view the Nordic region as one strategic region in some ways. If foreign retailers want to succeed in expanding their business into the Nordics they have to take all the differences into account as well.

Text by: Consignor,