0203 696 0980

Demographics of the Nordics

Territory overview

The Nordics

Population: 26 million with 18.9 million online

Countries: Denmark; Finland; Norway & Sweden (Iceland not included for purposes of this report)

Official language: See individual country profiles but English spoken widely

Gross domestic product: $1.4trn

Individually, each country of the Nordics may not appear at the top of possible investment opportunities for a merchant looking to expand into new markets. However, combined, the World Bank reports that they have the 12th biggest economy with a population of just 26 million. Norway has the highest GDP per capita of the four countries covered in this report at $65,000. On average though, the figure for the Nordics is nearly $49,000, which still provides an attractive opportunity.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released a report in March of 2015 which showed the four countries of the Nordics all ranking in the top 10 of those countries where ecommerce provided the most opportunity. The main characteristics measured by this report were that the top countries tended to have smaller populations, good access to telecommunications and postal infrastructure (including IT resource), and credit cards as a payment mechanism.

Figure 1: Top 10 countries for ecommerce. Source: UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index 2014

In the following country profiles, a world ecommerce ranking is displayed which is taken from the AT Kearney 2015 Global Retail e-Commerce Index. The metrics used to determine this ranking are slightly different, including online market size, consumer behaviour (openness to online), growth potential and infrastructure. This system favours larger, more established economies but serves to highlight the global competition for investment by merchants. Smaller markets can often provide a better return on investment, although the competitive landscape can be significantly different. For international merchants there is also the benefit that English is widely spoken. While it is usually better to localise the language of the website, this can be a longer-term aim as merchants get used to trading into the territory.

Figure 2: Top level domains for countries in the Nordics.

Individual country profiles

Sweden

Based on population, Sweden is the largest country and potential marketplace in the Nordics. The majority of the population is based in the southern half of the country where the climate is milder. The northern part is more sparsely populated and heavily forested. Sweden was a founding member of EFTA and became a full member of the EU in 1995. It hasn’t however joined the Euro but is part of the Schengen area.

World ecommerce rank: 16th*

Sweden’s top trading partners are:

Export: Norway, Germany and the UK

Import: Germany, Norway and the Netherlands

Capital: Stockholm

Geographical size: 438,574 sq km

Adult Population (18-79): 7.32 million (2016)

Population as % of total EU population: 1.9% (2014)

GDP: €430bn (2014)

Official EU language(s): Swedish

Political system: Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy

EU member country since: 1 January 1995

Seats in the European Parliament: 20

Currency: Swedish krona SEK

Schengen Area member since: 25 March 2001

* AT Kearney 2015 Global Retail e-Commerce Index

Source: OECD Factbook statistics. For explanatory notes, see OECD Factbook 2014 (DOI: 10.1787/factbook-2014-en)

 

Denmark

Denmark shares a land border with Germany but its capital, Copenhagen, is situated on Zealand; an island that is connected by bridges with Jutland (mainland Denmark) and Sweden. In common with the other Nordic countries, Denmark has a long coastline but also enjoys good road and rail links with continental Europe. An early member of the EU, Denmark is known for its agricultural production and, more recently, service-based economy. Denmark enjoys high levels of employment and a good social security system.

World ecommerce rank: 15th*

Denmark’s top trading partners are:

Export: Germany, Sweden and the UK

Import: Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands

Capital: Copenhagen

Geographical size: 42,921 sq km

Adult Population (18-79): 4.3 million (2016)

Population as % of total EU population: 1.1% (2014)

GDP: €257bn (2014)

Official EU language(s): Danish

Political system: Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy

EU member state since: 1 January 1973

Seats in the European Parliament: 13

Currency: Danish krone DKK

Schengen Area member since: 25 March 2001

* AT Kearney 2015 Global Retail e-Commerce Index

Source: OECD Factbook statistics. For explanatory notes, see OECD Factbook 2014 (DOI: 10.1787/factbook-2014-en)

Norway

The largest country in the Nordics by GDP, Norway stretches from the North Sea in the south, to the Barents Sea in the north. With the second-longest coastline in the world, at over 83,000 km (only Canada has longer), long distance communications often involve flying or ferries; many smaller communities are on islands or cut-off from land routes by mountains. This presents its own challenges in moving goods and people but, being a relatively prosperous country, services are reliable. Norway is a member of EFTA and while not a member of the EU, is part of the Schengen area. The Schengen agreement allows for the free movement of EU citizens throughout the area without visas.

World ecommerce rank: 20th*

Norway’s top trading partners are:

Export: Germany, UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium-Luxembourg

Import: Sweden, Germany, China, UK and Denmark

Capital: Oslo

Geographical size: 385,252 sq km

Adult Population (18-79): 3.9 million (2016)

GDP: €508.1bn (2014)

Official EU language(s): Bokmal Norwegian & Nynorsk Norwegian

Political system: Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy

European Free Trade Area member country since: 3rd May 1960

Currency: Danish krone DKK

Schengen Area member since: 2001

* AT Kearney 2015 Global Retail e-Commerce Index

Source: OECD Factbook statistics. For explanatory notes, see OECD Factbook 2014 (DOI: 10.1787/factbook-2014-en)

Finland

Finland shares land borders with Russia and Sweden, with an extensive coastline on the Baltic Sea. By land mass, Finland is the eighth-largest in the EU but is also the most sparsely populated. Industry spans forestry-based products, technology and some industry. Its export-based economy and small population means that it has a relatively high GDP per capita and good standard of living.

World ecommerce rank: 25th*

Finland’s top trading partners are:

Export: Germany, Sweden and Russia

Import: Sweden, Germany and Russia

Capital: Helsinki

Geographical size: 338,435 sq km

Adult Population (18-79): 4.1 million (2016)

Population as % of total EU population: 1.1 % (2014)

GDP: €205.2bn (2014)

Official EU Language(s): Finnish, Swedish

Political system: Parliamentary Republic

EU member country since: 1 January 1995

Seats in the European Parliament: 13

Currency: Euro

Member of the Eurozone since: 1 January 1999

Schengen Area member since: 25 March 2001

* AT Kearney 2015 Global Retail e-Commerce Index

Source: OECD Factbook statistics. For explanatory notes, see OECD Factbook 2014 (DOI: 10.1787/factbook-2014-en)

Greater Copenhagen

The Greater Copenhagen Collaboration is a political platform for promoting regional collaboration and economic growth. The mayors and regional chairpersons of eastern Denmark lead the Collaboration.

In close dialogue with business and other key players in Greater Copenhagen, the Greater Copenhagen Collaboration launches strategic initiatives to generate economic growth and create jobs in Greater Copenhagen.

Greater Copenhagen is a metropolitan region that spans eastern Denmark and Skåne in southern Sweden, with the 20km Oeresundbridge connecting the two countries since 1998.

The 79 municipalities in Greater Copenhagen are home to 3.9 million inhabitants, many of whom work in highly skilled jobs representing a large target market for international merchants, both as potential customers and, longer-term, perhaps employees.

From a demographic and delivery perspective, the region has the highest density of population in the Nordics. Nine million inhabitants live within the 300km radius of Copenhagen. Across the wider Nordic region, of the total population of 26 million, 20 million live within 300km of the four Nordic capitals; not including the Copenhagen area figures, this equates to an average of 3.6 million people per capital region.

Copenhagen Airport is the largest airport for passenger, cargo and express companies in the Nordics. Currently catering for 26 million passengers per year and expected to increase to 40 million, the airport is served by all the major international and domestic airlines. A lot of the passengers come from southern Sweden. The airport also acts as a major cargo hub for global logistics providers such as DHL, Fedex, Kuehne & Nagel and PostNord.

87% of the population in Greater Copenhagen speak English and it serves as a major gateway to the rest of the Nordics and the wider European continent.

Source: Copenhagen Capacity is the organisation for investment promotion and business development in Greater Copenhagen. With a large network in the region, Copenhagen Capacity specialises in developing and presenting business opportunities to international companies, investors and talent and in facilitating their implementation. Services are available to all companies free of charge. www.copcap.com

Invest in Skåne is the regional business promotion agency for Southern Sweden. Invest in Skåne connects international companies with business opportunities in Southern Sweden and helps Swedish companies in Southern Sweden to internationalise their business. All consultancy services are free of charge. The organisation is part of the marketing organisation called Business Region Skåne, which is owned by the regional council – Region Skåne – and the municipalities of Skåne. http://www.investinskane.com/

 

 

 

Political and socioeconomic environment

Online and mobile usage

Online shopping behaviour

Marketing

Optimising customer experience

Trust and dispute resolution

Legal framework and regulation

Logistics and delivery

Finance and payment