Many people take Christmas shopping the last week of November, when there are sales everywhere, but this year the supply of goods is lower and prices are expected to be higher.
“Black Friday” and “Black Week” are some of the biggest shopping days we have in Norway, and many “go home” to buy Christmas presents cheaper than otherwise. There are often many good offers and low prices on a variety of items.
This year, everything looks completely different than before, and we can not expect as low prices on this year’s big sales days, according to the main organization for the trade and services industry.
– For some industries, shortages of goods and lack of freight capacity are a concern today. In addition, we must realize that increased shipping prices will also contribute to a price increase for the products, says Harald Jachwitz Andersen, director of Virke.
– A lot of what we import as end products to Norway, which is produced in Asia, he says.
In addition, products from Asia are often included as components in goods produced elsewhere, and the shortage of goods in Asia therefore also has ripple effects for production worldwide, he points out.
Categories such as electronics, gadgets, furniture and sports equipment are among the categories that have had the largest price increase during the pandemic.
Although we see the light at the end of the tunnel on the corona pandemic, when more and more people are vaccinated and we can live more as normal, we may have to live with a supply crisis for several years.
– The need has increased
When the world’s factories and supply lines closed down last spring, some industries experienced tremendous growth. When everyone had a home office, many needed better equipment at once. At the same time, access to the most important raw materials used for these products was restricted.
Demand was also already on the rise, as more and more advanced products required more and more advanced electronics. Production must therefore be significantly increased.
– This is a perfect storm, where the epidemic has led to the growth of electronics has increased significantly, at the same time as the production facilities have closed down due to infection. In addition, the West’s trade sanctions on Chinese electronics have changed the market and the roll-out of the 5G network has further increased the need, COO Linda Firveld in Eye Networks told Nettavisen in June.
The company works to import and roll out Wifi solutions for various broadband players in Norway.
– There may be fewer items on sale
This is also the reason why it is more difficult to obtain all the products that are in demand. And with higher shipping prices, stores have to take some of the price increase out to customers.
– Experience has shown that it is difficult for the retail trade to pass on all cost increases to consumers, due to tough competition. Trade must take its own margins. But that we now want to see increased prices, that is for sure, says Andersen in Virke.
The change in the market can also have other consequences.
– There may be fewer items on sale during “Black Friday” and “Black Week”, he says.
However, he believes the stores will wait for the situation as long as possible before making a decision, because the competition is tough.
In any case, Andersen does not think people will shop less during the popular sales days this year than last year. He is still excited about whether the growth in e-commerce will be as high as last year, when it was over 60 percent in November.
– It remains to be seen how increased shipping prices and shortages of goods will affect Norwegian trade this year, he says.
However, he points out that the development in the Norwegian retail trade as a whole was fantastic last year, and it is also so far this year. Especially for shops that sell goods for houses and homes, as well as the grocery stores and Vinmonopolet. It is worse for the fashion industry, which despite positive figures compared to 2020 so far this year, is still significantly below the level in 2019.
– Pure speculation
Are Vittersø, Norwegian manager in the comparison service Prisjakt.no, says that 2020 was a year in which many product categories went up sharply in price based on high demand and low availability.
– 2020 was an extreme year, so all forecasts based on that year will be pure speculation and very difficult to estimate, says Vittersø.
From 1 January this year until now, there is actually a downward trend in most categories, Prisjakt.no sees.
– Whether this trend means that we are on our way back to many “normal levels” is difficult to say, but the trend says in any case that we can expect lower prices in many of the categories this year compared to 2020, he points out.
He says that if we look at all categories as a whole, these have fallen by an average of about five percent since the turn of the year and most categories follow this pattern. The exception is the furniture category, where prices increased by almost nine percent since the turn of the year.
Vittersø refers to an example where a popular sofa increased from NOK 5,495 in January this year to NOK 9,495 in September.
– Sofas are also a bit difficult because there can be different fabrics and materials, but this probably gives a good indicator anyway, he says.
Activity almost doubled
Vittersø points out that Black Friday is statistically the cheapest day to shop.
– The number of items that fell in price in 2020 was more than in 2019, and the average discount level was the highest we have ever measured on Black Friday. The search activity almost doubled in 2020 compared to 2019, so I definitely think that we will see a tremendous interest in this day and week this year as well, he says.
In recent years, we have seen a clear establishment of Black Week instead of just Black Friday.
– This probably means that the growth on Black Friday itself will not be as drastic, but Black Week as a whole will probably get a boost this year as well. Especially when it comes to online shopping, he says, adding:
– The physical trade naturally got a drop in 2020, so I think this will also go up again this year, but probably not to the same levels they have been at before.
– Will offer what they expect
Communications manager Madeleine Schøyen Bergly in Elkjøp says that, among other things, increased shipping costs have an impact on costs throughout their value chain. The same applies to currency, capacity, volume, customs walls and oil prices.
– It is part of our everyday life to adapt, as this is dynamic and prices change all the time due to the factors mentioned above, she says, and adds:
– That is why we are constantly working to negotiate the best prices from our suppliers, so that we can continue to offer our customers as low and competitive prices on electronics as possible.
Bergly says that this year, as in previous years, they have started the preparations for Black Friday and Black Week early.
– We want to offer our customers what they expect during this sales period, namely a reassurance that this is the best campaign we offer throughout the year, she says.
Elkjøp promises a strong campaign run through the Black Week sale.
– We look forward to again being able to offer the most popular product groups that we see recurring from year to year. These are, for example, products such as TVs, mobile phones, headphones and white goods, says Bergly.