Nov 21, 20185 min read

Why Do You Shop Online? A Nordic Consumer Study.

Fredrik Thambert headshot

by Fredrik Thambert

More than 6 out of 10 Nordic consumers now shop online at least once a month. What are they buying? Why are they buying it? And what are the most important factors when choosing where to buy? These are some of the important questions that Klarna’s consumer survey has been able to answer.

The Nordic countries are some of the world’s most developed e-commerce markets, with fast internet connections and high mobile penetration. Amazon and other global online retailers haven’t yet established a strong presence in the region, which has given local merchants space to develop their businesses and attract a base of loyal customers. But in order to keep this momentum, they need to better understand their consumers’ desires and demands.

This is something that Klarna wants to help them with. That’s why we conducted a survey in three Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway and Finland) to find out how online shoppers think and act.

The study was conducted in the spring of 2018 and consists of answers from over 3000 Nordic consumers.

More than nine out of ten say they’ve bought something online in the past six months, with 61 percent shopping online at least once a month.

“Those are very high numbers, but e-commerce has come a long way in the Nordic countries,” says Madeléne Kraemer, Senior Commercial Manager at Klarna.

Many merchants focus heavily on improving checkout conversion, but Klarna’s survey shows that there is still plenty of work to be done in this area. 92 percent of respondents have abandoned an online purchase after getting as far as placing items in their shopping basket. 87 percent thinks that simple payment solutions are an important aspect of online shopping.

“Merchants must show that they use a safe payment provider, such as Klarna. Many consumers decide beforehand which payment method they want to use. Retailers also have to clearly display their shipping options so that the consumer can choose which one suits them best,” Madeléne Kraemer explains.


Not surprisingly, it’s the younger people who shop online most frequently. But that doesn’t mean seniors are to be ignored. In Sweden, for example, half of the respondents in the 61-75 age group say they shop online once a month or more. In Finland, that number is 37 percent. Swedish consumers are also buying more stuff with their mobile phones.

There are also some notable differences between the countries when it comes to e-commerce habits. In Sweden, quick and smoooth deliveries are the most important aspect when shopping online. For Norwegians and Finns, it’s a secure buying process.

Some of the biggest factors holding people back from shopping online more often are not wanting to pay for shipping, the hassle of returning goods and if the payment feels unsafe.

“Nordic consumers have high demands on the whole shopping experience; they expect flexibility over their payment options as well as how and when their goods are delivered,” Madeléne Kraemer says.

So why do people choose to shop online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores? In a word: convenience. Not having to fit in with stores’ opening hours is the number one reason, but avoiding queues and saving time are other important factors. Of course, lower prices and a bigger range of products and services give e-commerce an edge as well.

How consumers choose which online store to buy from depends to a certain extent on how old they are. For example, 18-31-year-olds are more driven by recommendations, both from acquaintances and social media influencers. Appearing as one of the top results in search engines is also more important if you want to attract a younger audience. Mobile-friendly websites matter more to this generation since they tend to shop on their phones a lot. Looking at older consumers, they are more concerned with merchants having easily accessible customer service and a well-designed website.

Once the consumer has found your webshop, it’s all about making the purchase experience as smooth and easy as possible. The most important feature is good product images, according to the study. In second place comes a simple payment solution.

“Klarna is devoted to giving consumers superpowers. For us, that means giving them more time to do what they love. Our solutions help remove the hassle from their everyday lives, and this will also benefit the merchants who use our services,” Madeléne Kraemer concludes.