Norway - Selling and buying
Reaching the consumers
Three quarters of Norwegians live in the southern parts of Norway. The rest of the population is dispersed to small centers around the country. Therefore, because of the long distances and high transportation costs, it might be wise to focus the sales efforts to the southern areas of the country.
Norwegian retail trade is focused around main commercial centers, such as Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, and Stavanger. Mergers or close collaborations between two or more companies have driven the structural change over the past few years, mostly in the grocery sector. Retailers aim to enlarge their operations in order to gain more negotiation power at the expense of producers and wholesalers. Because of the small domestic market, the Norwegian retailers are small compared even with other Scandinavian countries, and are not very active internationally.
Price levels in Norway are infamously high: groceries cost 50 % more than what is the EU average. Prices of alcohol and tobacco are even higher.
The principal Norwegian stores are:
- NorgesGruppen with 2,760 retail outlets and a 32% market-share with a turnover of 4,43 billion euros in 2004. It is Norway's largest trading enterprise and the leader in the distribution market.
- Coop with 910 retail outlets, a 19,9% market share, and turnover of 3,3 billion euros.
- ICA is a Swedish company with 1032 retail outlets, 19,5% market-share, and turnover of 2,85 billion euros.
Shopping centers have also known great success, reaching a total turnover of 1,5 billion euros in 2004 in 4 principal zones: Oslo, Akershus, Osdtfold and Vestfold; thus registering a growth of 6,3% as compared to 2003.
Market access procedures
Numbers of products require an import license, for example clothes and textiles. Genetically modified products and biotech products face more restrictive legislation than in EU countries.
Non-agricultural goods entering into the territory must adhere to customs formalities (summary declaration). This declaration must be carried out by the person bringing the goods to the territory. In the case of non-EU goods this procedure could take:
- 45 days in the case of goods carried by sea;
- 20 days in the case of goods carried other than by sea.
For more information, please contact the Norwegian Excise and Customs Authority.
Modernised Customs Code of the EU will be into place by 2013.Check the EU’s Customs website periodically for updates.
Organizing goods transport
Road transport accounts for almost 50 % of cargo transport in Norway. 44 percent is done by ships and the rest occurs in railways. The road and rail infrastructure is mostly in very good condition. A list of Norwegian cargo agents can be found here.