Ian Harris
Ian Harris 19 September 2013

Five things you need to know about marketing online in Scandinavia

Five things you need to know before launching your Danish, Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish digital marketing campaigns

Don’t be fooled by Scandinavian’s good English

Scandinavians generally speak English to a good level. Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway make up four of the top five nations with the highest English Proficiency Index (EF EPI: the index that measures countries that don’t speak English as a first language). So, armed with this knowledge, you may be tempted to try and market to the Scandinavian audience in English. This would be a mistake though.


From our own experience of running campaigns across numerous industries in Sweden, Denmark et al, your online advertising or marketing must be in the local language to be successful. Running  campaigns in English just don’t succeed in appealing to a wide local audience.


The Norwegians are strict on advertising

If you are a gambling, tobacco or alcoholic beverages business Norway may not be the market for you. There are strict advertising laws in place on these industries and it’s actually illegal to advertise for any alcoholic product over 2.5 per cent. Advertising on all tobacco products is unsurprisingly prohibited.


Norwegians are, however, liberal with their wallets

Norway has the highest cost of living in the world and, according to the World Bank, it has the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world at $62,767 compared to the UK’s $35,819. This is because the nation has some of the highest income levels on the globe – which means that Norwegians are used to spending.


Unlike the UK, Norway has one of the lowest income inequalities in the world, making for less clear class divides. This means that mid-price range products can be marketed successfully to a very large spectrum of the population.


Swedes love to shop online

Ecommerce purchases in Sweden topped £3.6 billion last year and are on the rise in 2013. Home electronics and fashion are the bestselling sectors. In fact, Sweden has the second highest percentage in the world of people shopping for clothes and accessories online.


A crucial factor in the ecommerce success of Sweden is the level of trust in credit card payments. While fear of credit card fraud has held back ecommerce markets such as Russia, Sweden much like the UK, has moved past such worries.  In terms of delivery of products, retailers should offer both home delivery and click and collect.


There are more phones than people in Denmark

Denmark has more registered phones (7.8 million) than people (5.5 million), making mobile marketing and advertising crucial to success in the Danish market. Internet advertising in the country is a booming industry accounting for nearly £440 million and this has helped online sales contribute nearly 6% to Denmark’s GDP. Danish consumers are also susceptible to social media advertising, with nearly half the population on Facebook, and the cost-per-click on the social network similar to that of the UK (£0.83 versus £0.74). 

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