Denmark and Sweden: What are the differences you need to be aware of?
Written by Max Riis Christensen
Denmark and Sweden are geographically close neighbours. Separated by Oresund, but unified by their Scandinavian culture and shared history.
While there are many lingual and cultural similarities between them, there are an equal amount of clear and present differences to consider for brands and companies operating in e-commerce.
Danes prefer to pay with Dankort while Swedes, if given the chance, will opt for invoicing with Klarna. There are also different preferences between Danish and Swedish consumers regarding product delivery, but did you know that the motivation to buy also differs between the two countries?
Prior to starting MakesYouLocal, I was running my own international webshop for 10 years, selling in both Denmark and Sweden. Over the years I have gained some valuable insights into the differences between the two countries.
Specifically, there are three significant aspects that I'd like to share with you.
Visual and Cultural Differences
In Denmark, the colour yellow is synonymous with discounts and sales. Danish shops commonly use this colour during seasonal sales, and Danes have come to associate yellow with a good deal.
In Sweden, however, the colour red carries the same symbolism. This means that when translating newsletters, front-page graphics, banners, and other visuals, it's not just the language that needs adjustment but also the colour themes.
Additionally, national anniversaries and bank holidays differ between the two countries. Sweden celebrates the bonfire of St. John's in April, while Danes mark it as a midsummer tradition in June. Mother's Day and Father's Day are also observed on different dates. Hence, it is crucial to exercise caution and attentiveness when translating graphics and planning marketing activities from one country to another.
Furthermore, paydays follow different national standards. Swedes receive their salaries on the 25th of each month, whereas, in Denmark, it is more common to receive paychecks on the last two weekdays of the month. Child benefits are paid monthly in Sweden, while in Denmark, they are distributed quarterly. Due to these variations, I found it necessary to stagger the timing of my newsletters to cater to each country's specific payment cycle.
We are not influenced in the same way
In recent years, a multitude of competent bloggers and industry professionals have emerged. We now rely more than ever on the opinions and experiences of influencers.
As the owner of a webshop specialising in baby equipment, my customer base included many first-time moms. For them, "safety" and "security" were keywords. It became crucial for my shop to feature other mothers who customers could relate to. To achieve this, I collaborated with various bloggers and influencers who tested and reviewed specific products. Their recommendations directly impacted sales figures, but interestingly, their influence was more pronounced in Denmark compared to Sweden.
Danes often seek guidance from both well-known and anonymous mothers. In Sweden, trust in experts holds a greater significance. Thus, having a midwife endorse a particular baby pillow proved more effective in Sweden than in Denmark.
It is therefore vital to collaborate with influencers who possess the appropriate background to resonate with the preferences of each respective country.
In my experience, Swedish customers exhibited slightly higher levels of loyalty compared to their Danish counterparts and Swedes are more inclined to subscribe to newsletters and join customer clubs.
Once a Swedish customer receives excellent treatment, they are unlikely to forget it and are highly likely to return. However, it's important to note that the same principle applies in reverse as well.
Swedes are more likely to leave feedback on platforms like Trustpilot, Facebook, or via email if they have had a positive experience on your website or with your customer service.
Swedish customers also place great importance on webshops delivering on their promises. If you state 1-3 day delivery, that is precisely what they will expect.
Danes are generally more understanding and accepting of slight delays or unforeseen circumstances that may prevent you from fully meeting the original promise. Danes evaluate the situation, listen to your explanation, and react accordingly.
Whether you are considering launching in Sweden, Denmark, or any other country, I possess specific knowledge of these differences and am eager to share them with you. Feel free to reach out to me to learn more.