Denmark - Country Commercial Guide

Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2022-12-02

E-commerce has been and continues to be a growing market in Denmark.  In 2021, Denmark registered the highest per capita spending for online shopping in Europe, with USD 3,000.  Norway followed in the ranking, as its online expenditure amounted to USD 2,400, while British online shoppers spent USD 2,300 online over the considered year (Statista).  The Danish e-commerce market has improved online shopping through enabling commerce via smartphones, expanded pick-up options, and optimized and recognized issues by using big data analytical tools.  

Denmark is part of the EU legal framework that includes a single taxation system. 

According to Statista, debit or credit card was the leading shopping payment method in Denmark in 2021, used by more than half (52 percent) of e-commerce users.  Mobile payments, such as MobilePay, came in second, with 22 percent of respondents. Approximately 13 percent of Danish online shoppers used PayPal, while 4 percent used online banking.  Regarding the preferred payment cards, most consumers opted for Dankort and Visa/Dankort cards. 

In Denmark, e-commerce sales of local online retailers reached over DKK 130 billion (USD 20 billion) in 2021.  In comparison, sales from foreign retailers amounted to around DKK 50 billion (USD 7.5 billion).  Even though the market presence of cross-border retailers is limited, the German online fashion retailer Zalando was the leading e-tailing company in 2021, with approximately 6 percent of the market share. 

In 2021, almost 70 percent of online shoppers purchased clothing and sports equipment, illustrating the popularity of fashion e-commerce in Denmark.  However, the value of online fashion sales varies from season to season.  In the months leading up to some of the major national holidays - which take place in the second and fourth quarters of the year - Danes tend to spend more on fashion and accessories. 

The launch of Amazon in the Nordic countries, initially in Sweden in 2020, will gradually enhance the B2C e-commerce in the following years.  U.S. sales channels would benefit through this expansion by obtaining easier access to Danish consumers.   

There are multiple guides aimed at helping independent sellers break into the online market, and there are both B2B and B2C service providers with paid services assisting private companies in their pursuit of setting up online and expanding their business in e-commerce.  Services include web design, booking systems, apps, hosting, context marketing, etc. 

Social media platforms and streaming services such as Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube are popular for advertisements, mainly aimed toward younger consumers. 

There have been no recent regulations that affect domestic and/or cross-border e-commerce.  

The most common products/services that consumers purchase online are cultural experiences and vacations.  Two out of three online consumers bought tickets for the theater, concerts, or cinema, hotel accommodations, clothes, sports equipment, and travel tickets.  On the other hand, few people buy medicine or groceries online, even though the trend for online purchase of groceries is growing rapidly with the introduction of new and flexible delivery solutions.  In general, female online shoppers buy more clothes, books, cultural experiences, food, and groceries, whereas male online shoppers tend to buy computer hardware, games, and electronics.  Only 4 percent of citizens in the EU gamble online, but that number is significantly higher in Denmark, where 18 percent of the population gambles online.   

The Danish government is seeking to implement online services that are simpler and more effective and will discontinue paper applications for government services submitted by regular mail.  Citizens of Denmark each have a digital mailbox where they receive communications from the government.  It will be mandatory for businesses to access government services online, including payment transactions with the government.  Public schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. will be given subsidies to procure electronic applications that increase transparency and efficiency.  The initiatives are intended to ensure that digitization efforts in the public sector will be coordinated and prioritized through wider and binding cross-governmental collaboration at all levels. 

The European Union’s Digital Single Market Initiative  

  • Creating a “Europe fit for the Digital Age,” including bolstering the Digital Single Market (DSM), is one of the six priorities of the European Commission (EC) for the period 2019-2024.  The EC’s overall objective is to bring down barriers, regulatory or otherwise, and to unlock online opportunities in Europe, from e-commerce to e-government.  By doing so, the EU hopes to do away with the current fragmented national markets and create one borderless market with harmonized legislation and rules for the benefit of businesses and consumers alike throughout Europe.  

  • The EC set out its vision in current president Ursula von der Leyen’s “A Union that strives for more” agenda.  The agenda laid out plans for joining standards for a 5G network, achieving technological sovereignty, ethical expansion of AI, passing a new Digital Services Act, creating a Cyber Unit, and fully digitalizing the Commission.  

  • In addition, the data protection legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into force on May 25, 2018 (see separate section in this report). 

For more information:  

The Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) provides rules for online services in the EU.  It requires providers to abide by rules in the country where they are established (country of origin).  Online providers must respect consumer protection rules such as indicating contact details on their website, clearly identifying advertising, and protecting against spam.  The Directive also grants exemptions to liability for intermediaries that transmit illegal content by third parties and for unknowingly hosting content. 

Comprehensive Market Research on e-commerce in the EU is available upon request. 

Key Link: eCommerce