Iceland - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors and Techniques

Identifies common practices used in selling in this market, including sales material that needs to be in the local language.

Last published date: 2022-06-09

Iceland is a member of the EEA which connects it to the EU internal market.  Labelling is subject to EU rules and regulations, as well as Icelandic regulations.  All electronics must have the CE marking.

There are many U.S. products on the Icelandic market and Icelanders are very familiar with leading U.S. brand names.  Numerous U.S. franchise businesses operate, particularly in the fast food and restaurant sector, and in service sectors.  Popular U.S. television programs are broadcast in Iceland and U.S. films play in Icelandic cinemas (in English with Icelandic subtitles).  Many Icelanders have worked, studied, or traveled in the United States and have a first-hand familiarity with American tastes and lifestyles.  Most communities outside the Reykjavík area are small, and the country can be considered a single market area.

Iceland’s three commercial banks, Landsbankinn, Islandsbanki, and Arion Bank, offer international payments and transfers, see more in the trade financing chapter below.

Trade Promotion and Advertising

The principal television channels in Iceland are Ruv and Stod 2.  There are also numerous private radio stations, in addition to the Government-owned Radio and TV stations, which also host advertising.  For a list of advertising agencies contact the Association of Icelandic Advertising Agencies.  Social media marketing is increasingly popular, as the vast majority of the population uses social media on daily basis.  The U.S. Embassy in Iceland offers commercial services in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Newspaper readership in Iceland is very high.  There are two principal newspapers:  Morgunbladid, a subscription publication, and Frettabladid, which is distributed free of charge to households in the capital area.  Three additional newspapers are:  DV, which is a tabloid-style paper currently publishing once a week; Stundin, a bi-weekly paper; and Viðskiptabladid, a weekly business journal published on Thursdays.  All the newspapers have online editions, and there is an online investigative news outlet called Kjarninn.  The public relations firm KOM issues a paid subscription news summary in English.


Retail prices in Iceland can be high, reflecting the cost of shipping to an isolated location, the need to import most industrial inputs, tariffs and regulatory costs for certain items, and a general 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) for most items (it is 11 percent for food, books, magazines, and a few other items). 

Sales Service/Customer Support

Larger service providers and retailers offer customer support via phone or e-mail.

Local Professional Services

The Embassy’s Consular Section maintains a list of local attorneys along with guidelines on retaining an attorney in Iceland.  For more information visit the U.S. Embassy in Iceland website.  Inquiries may also be directed to the Icelandic Bar Association.

Principal Business Associations

The American-Icelandic Chamber of Commerce (AMIS) promotes and maintains the commercial relationship between the United States and Iceland, as well as links between the two countries in the fields of education, culture, business, and politics.  AMIS accepts members that represent Icelandic and American companies located in Iceland.  AMIS regularly hosts networking and cultural events.

The Iceland Chamber of Commerce is a non-governmental organization based on voluntary participation by companies and individuals conducting business in Iceland with approximately 200 members.  The chamber publishes reports on the Icelandic economy every year.  Anyone who engages in business can become member of the Chamber.

SA Confederation of Icelandic Employers is a service organization for Icelandic businesses.  SA negotiates collective agreements with unions on wages and working conditions, advocates for internationally competitive regulatory environment, and interprets government decisions that affect the business environment.

SI Federation of Icelandic Industries brings together Icelandic employers and increases collaboration between the members of the business community.  SI works on matters relating to exports and internationalization, standards and CE marking, government purchasing, innovation and development, education, legal matters, and quality systems. 

Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services

There are no limits on selling U.S. products or services other than the requirement that all products must be compliant with EU regulations concerning labelling and carry CE markings, except for agricultural products.  Imported agricultural products such as meat and dairy products are subject to quotas, tariffs, and restrictions (all meat that comes from the U.S. must be frozen for 30 days prior to entering Iceland).  There are limitations on foreign ownership of natural resources and land in Iceland.