Monday, May 23

Surprisingly large drop in shopping in December

Retail fell much more than expected in December, but may be due to earlier trading on Black Friday in November and fears of delivery delays.

CHRISTMAS TRADE: Statistics Norway publishes retail trade figures for December. The picture is from Storo shopping center in Oslo.


The case is being updated

Norwegian retail trade fell 3.1 percent in December, adjusted for normal seasonal variations, according to Statistics Norway. The fall comes after three months of growth.

In advance, zero growth was expected in December, after 0.9 percent growth in November, according to Bloomberg.

It was especially furniture and electronics that contributed to the decline this month. It was the same industries that pulled up a lot the month before.

– Some of the shift in turnover from December to November can be seen in connection with major shopping days such as Black Friday and Black Week with associated price reductions, says adviser Anders Falla Aas in Statistics Norway.

– Encouragement to buy Christmas presents earlier than usual due to delays in the international transport of goods may also have contributed to this shift in trade from December to November, he adds.


Christmas trade may also have been affected by the government’s tightening of infection control measures in mid-December. High electricity bills may also have come into play.

Private consumption is an important prerequisite for the economy to recover after the pandemic.

Norges Bank, which announced a new rate hike in March, expects household consumption to rise by six per cent this year.

During the pandemic, infection control restrictions have contributed to Norwegians spending much less money on the purchase of services, and more on goods. In addition, we have shopped more in Norway due to the restrictions on cross-border trade and travel.

Statistics Norway points out that the major changes in Norwegians’ trading patterns have led to large effects in the seasonally adjusted figures, and that the volume of turnover in the retail trade is still well above the levels that were before the pandemic.

– After the reopening of society in September, it was expected that parts of these changes would be reversed. With increased infection rates and uncertainty with subsequent infection control-related tightening in December, that reversal partially stopped some of the industries, such as the grocery trade, says Statistics Norway’s Falla Aas.

Retail trade in Norway (black) compared with countries using the euro (green).

Groceries are turning up

After 4 months of decline in grocery stores, it turned to a growth of one percent in December. It is still significantly lower than at the same time the year before, but still higher than before the pandemic.

Compared with December 2019, the volume in grocery stores was up 3.3 percent in December 2021.

The clothing stores, which have had a few months with relatively high turnover, fell by as much as 12 per cent from November to December 2021. This is among the retail industries that struggled the most during the closure at the start of the pandemic.

There was also a fall in fuel sales of 5.6 per cent in December, which can be seen in connection with austerity measures as a result of the pandemic and less mobility.

The annual average for total retail trade was unchanged from 2020 to 2021, but with large differences between the industries. Retail trade was unchanged, while there was a decrease of 3.4 per cent for wholesale trade and an increase of 12 per cent for trade in and repair of motor vehicles.

Here you will find the figures at Statistics Norway

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