Norwegians stock up online on toys (+67%) and groceries (+90%) - Convenience is the key word

AfterPay Insights Shopping Behavior Norway

Read this post in Norwegian. 

Norwegians are considerably less worried about corona from a personal health perspective, compared to their fellow Europeans from Germany and The Netherlands. But their worry from a financial perspective is on par with consumers in the other countries.

The combination of a low level of worry about personal health with a high level of worry about the financial situation has resulted in a +/- 0% change when comparing the number of online purchases made by consumers before the corona outbreak vs the two last weeks.

Note however, that there are large differences across different categories: where food-related categories have increased significantly, categories such as Travel and Tickets have taken a big hit in number of purchases.

The largest driver behind e-commerce growth in Norway is the convenience aspect of online commerce, it is simply easer to order online now that Norwegians spend more time at home. And, of course, the health perspective also has an impact, both from fear of becoming contaminated as well as the fact that many physical stores are closed.

An increasing share of Norwegians state they will increase their online purchases in the month to come. This means, when looking into the future, the total online market is likely to grow in Norway.

Which consumers in Norway have changed their behavior?

Even though volume of e-commerce purchases before the corona outbreak in Norway is on par with number of purchases in the past 2 weeks, Norwegians set themselves apart from Germans and Dutch in that as much as one third of consumers say they have decreased online purchases since the corona outbreak – and only 14% claim an increase.

In Norway – as also observed in The Netherlands and Germany - younger people (aged 18-34) display polarized behavior – some have increased their online shopping, while others have decreased e-commerce purchases. At the same time, older people (aged 45+) have continued to make roughly the same number of e-commerce purchases.

The data also shows clear differences between women and men when it comes to the number of online purchases. Women have increased their number of online purchases, with women aged 18-34 showing the highest increase in numbers of e-commerce purchases. Men have not changed their behavior to the same extent.

Looking at different life stages, consumers in the pre-family life stage (aged 18-34 without kids) have increased the number of e-commerce purchases, and households with kids have decreased number of online purchases.

Why are Norwegian consumers changing their behavior?

The corona-related worry about personal health is significantly lower in Norway compared to The Netherlands and Germany. This influences not only the share of consumers that have increased/decreased the number of purchases, but also the drivers of consumers’ change in behavior.

The number one driver for Norwegians to decrease their online shopping is related to their financial situation, either because they are worried about society as a whole, or worried about their personal financial situation. In practice, consumers are either limited in their possibilities to shop, or have a reduced need to shop in the way they used to before the corona crisis.

The Norwegian consumers who have increased their online shopping show two key drivers for doing so. One is the convenience to shop from home as they spend more time in lockdown, and the other is related to the health perspective; they want to avoid meeting people in physical stores.

How have Norwegian consumers’ worries impacted e-commerce?

As mentioned, Norwegians are considerably less worried about the corona outbreak from a personal health perspective compared to the other countries, but the worry from the financial perspective is on par with the other countries.

A large share of Norwegian consumers who are worried both from a personal health as well as a financial perspective have decreased their online purchases. This is significant for Norway: in Germany and The Netherlands, consumers who indicated this ‘double worry’ have either increased or decreased their online purchases.

And the group that displays the least worry are also the ones that have not changed their overall online shopping behavior since the corona outbreak.

Which products have Norwegian consumers bought more or less since before the corona outbreak?

Norwegians have reduced their number of e-commerce purchases across considerably more categories than consumers in The Netherlands and Germany.

Just like in the other measured countries, food-related categories have increased the most, these are Food & Groceries, Health & Health food and Take away food with home delivery. In addition, also in line with the other countries, consumers have purchased significantly less in Travel and transportation and Tickets (for events, cinema, concerts etc).

As a result of spending more time at home, there is also strong increase in home related categories such as Toys, Home decorations and Furniture, Media and entertainment (Books, movies, games, music) and Hobby articles. On the other hand, since the corona outbreak Norwegians have purchased considerably less in Electronics and telecom (Software, TV, computers, mobile phones, telco etc), Cosmetics and beauty products and Sporting goods.

Notable is that purchases within Fashion are not decreasing, which is significantly the case in the other markets.

Which products will Norwegian consumers buy more or less in the coming month?

As mentioned earlier, purchases within Food and Groceries have seen a significant increase since the corona outbreak in Norway. And according to AfterPay Insights’ consumer projections, this is also the category that will increase the most in the coming month.

Other categories that are expected to grow in the month to come are Media/Entertainment and Fashion. Since the corona outbreak, this is a continued increase for Media and Entertainment, while for Fashion it is an increase from a status quo perspective.

And in line with the research results in The Netherlands and Germany, online purchases in Norway within Travel and transportation and Tickets have decreased significantly since the corona outbreak, and consumers intend to continue consuming even less in these categories in the coming month.

Other categories pointing to a future decrease are Home decoration/Furniture, Gardening tools, Kitchen appliances and Hardware/ building materials.

Will Norwegian consumers will buy more or less the coming month?

Norwegians differ from the other countries in that a larger share of consumers claim they will decrease their online purchases in the month to come compared to the share claiming they will increase purchases.

45% of all Norwegian consumers claim they will continue to purchase online to the same extent in the coming month. 22% of consumers say they will buy more while 25% say they will buy less. The remaining 8% are unsure about their future purchases.

Consumers who have decreased their online purchases in the past will buy even less in the coming month. And Norwegian consumers that have increased their online purchases since the corona outbreak claim they will increase their purchases even further in the month to come.

A great majority of consumers that up to this point have displayed unchanged purchase behavior; claim that they will not change their e-commerce shopping behavior in the future. Within this group, the group of consumers that claim they will increase their purchases in the coming month is larger than the group that claim they will decrease their purchases.

Norwegian consumers indicate higher demands on merchants in coming month

As might be expected, the most important factor in choosing a webshop is having previous experience of the webshop, and this is true for Norwegians, Dutch and Germans.

That the webshop has the lowest prices is the second most important aspect among Norwegians. Security is the third most important aspect, and this goes hand in in hand with having used the webshop before.

From a functional and convenience perspective, reliable deliveries, offering a wide range of products and good customer service are also important aspects.

Norwegian consumers who intend to increase their online purchases in the coming month place an increased importance on wide range of products and display of in-stock information.

Having the fastest delivery time is a small need in Norway, but among consumers intending to increase their online purchases it is relatively more important. The same applies to flexible payment options and flexible return options. In a normal market, these relatively smaller needs would be considered niche needs that probably only a smaller market segment would value to a higher extent.

When we look into delivery in particular, the most commonly selected form of delivery service in Norway before corona was 'Delivery to Service Point (grocery store, petrol station or convenience store), this was chosen for about 55% of all online purchases. This share has decreased significantly and now represents 40% of online purchases.

Prior to the corona outbreak, home delivery was used in 25% of all online purchases in Norway. During the last two weeks, the corresponding figure was 36%, a significant increase.

When we asked consumers about their choice of delivery method for the upcoming month, 38% of the Norwegian consumers claim they will increase the use of home delivery and only 8% said they will use this method less often.

In summary, consumers’ demands of merchants are changing at rapid pace. In the new corona reality, merchants need to pay attention and find new ways to fulfill their consumers’ changing needs.