With a population of 5.3 million, Norway is the smallest country in the Nordics in number of inhabitants. It is also the only country in the region that is not a member of the EU. This fact places some special demands on foreign e-retailers who want to do business here – we will come back to that further down in the text.
Consumers in Norway, as in the rest of the region, are digitally mature and internet use is among the highest in Europe. When buying products online, Norwegians favors more or less the same product categories as the consumers in their neighboring countries. The difference is that they now buy more of these, and also more often. In 2016, 28 % bought clothing & footwear. In 2021, the equivalent number was 56 %.
Norwegian consumers have a strong interest in cross-border shopping. The German fashion giant Zalando tops the list of favorite marketplaces. Consumers here also buy more from the US than do their Nordic neighbors, which my be related to the fact that Norway is not a member of the EU. In addition to the foreign marketplaces, Norway has quite a number of domestic companies with high market shares such as Komplett.no – which sells home electronics – and the grocery chain Kolonial.no.
Now, back to the changed VAT rules and increased duty-free access. In July 2021, the European Union introduced new rules for VAT for all member states through the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS). According to VAT regulation applicable until July 2021, no import VAT had to be paid for commercial goods of a value up to EUR 22. Since that date, all commercial goods imported into the EU from a third country are subject to VAT, irrespective of their value.
Norway, which is not a member of the EU, has its own system called VOEC (VAT On Electronic Commerce). The purpose is to simplify customs procedures, with no customs declarations. The main element of the scheme is that foreign sellers with a total turnover in Norway exceeding 50 000 NOK during a twelve months period will be liable to pay Norwegian VAT when selling low-value goods, valued at less than 3 000 NOK to consumers in Norway. If sellers send goods with a value above that limit, VOEC registration is not possible and all items exceeding that value will be customs-cleared into Norway.
Thus, as a foreign e-commerce provider selling to Norwegian consumers – and if you are qualified for the above – you need to register for VOEC. More information can be found at Skatteetaten.no.
To learn more about the different European markets and what you need to know to succeed with e-commerce there, order your free copy of the ”E-commerce in Europe 2021” report.
Olof Källgren, Market Information Manager, Direct Link