Analysis

Nordics: delivery options more important than speed

The Nordic region is generally perceived to be in a similar state of maturity to the UK when it comes to e-commerce adoption and acceptance.

In terms of the choices the shopper makes when it comes to getting the items they’ve purchased, there are some interesting differences, as well as expected similarities.

The topic of delivery is examined in PostNord’s Q1 2015 Ecommerce in the Nordic Region report.

PostNord itself has reported a 21% increase in b2c parcel volumes – compared with Q1 2014 – and has identified delivery options as the next big thing on the Nordic online shoppers’ minds.

Across the region, ecommerce sales were up 7% in the quarter, with the Norwegian ecommerce sector recording negative growth during the period, thereby holding back the overall regional growth figure. That decline in Norway was both in the number of people shopping online and the amount they spent, and may be in keeping with a slowdown in the first quarter’s general sales outlook for the country.

The issue of cross-border delivery is being discussed at an EU Commission level, and is likely to resonate with Nordic shoppers as 40% of the region’s online shoppers buy from abroad. In the case of Norway and Finland, that figure is close to half of all those who shop online.

Nordic abroad

Choice matters

It is becoming increasingly important for e-commerce consumers in the Nordic region to be able to choose how an item is delivered. The exception is Finland, where the power of the recipient became less important compared with the first quarter of 2014. Sweden, Norway and Denmark all had a clear shift from “fairly important” to “very important”. The ability to choose is valued highest in Denmark. Over one third (33%) of Danes think it is “very important” to be able to choose how an item will be delivered when they shop online.

Nordic delivery 1

Speed matters too

Expectations for fast delivery times increased in all countries during the first quarter of the year. The pain threshold typically reaches four business days. Danes continue to expect the fastest deliveries and are open to waiting an average of 3.4 business days at most.

However, in Finland consumers are open to waiting up to 4.4 days.

Nordic delivery 2

Next-day is less significant

In Q1 2015, the perceived importance of prompt deliveries fell compared with Q1 2014. Relatively few consumers consider it important to have their online purchase delivered the next business day. However, in Denmark and Sweden, most consumers still consider it fairly or very important for the product to be delivered within three business days at most.

Nordic delivery 3

Location, location, location

Preferences for how an item purchased online will be delivered vary among the Nordic countries. However, the most popular option for all countries is to pick up the item from a partner outlet or service point. It is clear that good accessibility in a partner outlet, both geographically and in terms of opening hours, is appreciated.

In Sweden and Norway, many people also want to receive the item in their mailbox (31% and 25%, respectively). In Denmark, many people want their delivery at home in the daytime, whether or not they are home.

Interest in home deliveries in the evening for an extra fee is low in all countries.

Nordic delivery 4

Rising returns

Some 17% of Swedish and Finnish e-commerce consumers returned at least one item they bought online during the first quarter. The percentage was lowest in Norway (12%).

In total, more than 3.6 million shipments were returned during the first quarter of the year. The number of returned shipments in Sweden and Finland corresponded to two thirds of the total volume of returns in the Nordic region.

Nordic returns 1

Nordic returns 2

You can also read an opinion article on this topic from Annemarie Gardshol, Head of E-commerce at PostNord on eDelivery.