The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works. У вас есть вопрос? У нас есть ответ. Решая сложные задачи бизнеса, мы улучшаем мир. У вас є запитання? У нас є відповідь. Вирішуючи складні завдання бізнесу, ми змінюємо світ на краще. Meilleure la question, meilleure la réponse. Pour un monde meilleur. 問題越好。答案越好。商業世界越美好。 问题越好。答案越好。商业世界越美好。

The Future of Nordic Retail | Second edition

How data and digitalization are shaping the future of Nordic retail

Our report

  • About

    Could your biggest challenge today be how you think about tomorrow?

    Retail is about to enter the most turbulent time in history. We will likely see more changes in the next 10 years than we have seen in the past decades. All segments of retail and all countries are not necessarily affected in the same way. What does the future of Nordic retail look like?

    In this report we focus on a particular and important area of the future – how data and digitalization are shaping the future of retail and consumer product companies. Development is fast and disruption is around the corner.

  • Executive Summary

    This is the second edition of EY’s Future of Nordic Retail report. In 2017, we launched the first edition, which focused on the overall development, starting out with broad trends in society among consumers, retailers and the shopping process.

    In this edition, we focus on how data and digitalization are shaping the future of Nordic retail. We focus on understanding the leading markets and industry players, with advanced examples from the US and China, what they are doing and the tools they use. We seek to highlight what could be expected to impact the retailers in the Nordics based on what is happening already in the US and China. We also present a future road map for Nordic retailers and thoughts on how to handle the future.

    Data for this report from the top professionals among the leading retailers and consumer product companies and other industry professionals in the Nordic countries has been gathered in three steps: (1) through individual in-depth interviews, (2) future retail survey and (3) two workshops, one in Oslo and one in Stockholm.

    81% of the respondents in the survey of this study say that data is the most important driver of the future of retail. On the other hand, only 5% believe that most people in the management team know what Tencent is and what they are doing. A lack of understanding of companies such as Tencent is a clear indication that most of us need to learn more about what is transforming retail and consumer product companies today.

    We can have an approach of staying with the business that works, or try to balance the new and the old, or go full-on into the new paradigm. Whichever option we choose, we need to gain more knowledge and continually learn where to be and what to do. Changes are happening much faster than expected and Nordic retailers need to be better prepared for them, today. We need to learn more from the front runners.

    Based on our study results, we propose the following four areas for you to consider, today, when preparing yourself for the future:

    1. Store transformation: The role of the physical stores will change, but how? Experts surveyed in this study have a number of predictions. The common denominator is that few of them believe status quo will be successful.

    2. Ecosystem partnering: The new market is a world with powerful platforms and ecosystems. How to compete, cooperate and navigate in this new world will be more important. Looking at the old competitors will not give enough guidance for the future.

    3. Key performance indicator (KPI) alignment: KPIs need to acknowledge the new paradigm and not the old. Our survey indicates that current KPIs are good only for short-term and not long-term performance. Can the industry maintain this and stay relevant?

    4. Culture shift: Culture remains perhaps the biggest challenge. Our survey reveals a clear message: even average performers will change their focus and employees will work a lot more with data. Among top performers — even more so.

    We do not believe that those who change first or the most, will be the winners. We do believe, however, that the average performance of those who change more will be better than those who change less.

    Understand the future consumer now to shape your business for tomorrow – go to

  • Download report

The Future of Nordic Retail

Listen what Henrik Kronborg Iversen, Nordic Consumer Products & Retail Leader, some EY experts and clients think about the future of Nordic retail.

Highlights from the Future of Nordic Retail 2018 report

Some key findings

EY - The game changers

Download the pdf report for more study results.

Three ways of addressing the future

In our study we encountered three perspectives on how to be successful in retail and consumer products environment in the future. These could be seen as rather general attitudes and behaviors.

EY - The game changers

For more insights, download our report.

The game changer tools

When looking into the future of retail, few would doubt that large companies such as Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent will be increasingly important. Understanding the future marketplace means looking at the technology in the forefront and, perhaps even more so, looking at the markets and organizations in the frontline.

EY - The game changers

To read more about all these areas, download our report.

The future road map

In our survey, we asked questions about what and when data will change in retail in the next decade. It is based on educated guesses and should, therefore, be handled with caution - and seen as an inspiration but something to be seriously considered.

EY - The future road map

• Next three years: predictive is here for those born digital
• Next five years: mobile connects to intelligent stores
• Next eight years: the era of dynamic personalization
• Next 12 years: biometrics and AR are real
• Very distant future (or never): the catchup with the giants

Read more from our study.

How to handle the future

Based on our study results, we propose the following four areas for you to consider today when preparing yourself for the future.

EY - The future road map

• Know your market to stay relevant
• Change the culture
• Align your KPIs

For more information about these four areas, download the report.


The Future of Nordic Retail | 1st edition

How to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges today?

Read more

Nordic E-commerce study

Mystery shopping experience in the Nordics

Read more


Understand the future consumer now to shape your business for tomorrow

Read more

Watch video


Nordic Consumer products and Retail Leadership team

EY - Henrik Kronborg Iversen

Henrik Kronborg Iversen

EY Nordic CPR Sector Leader
Partner, EY (DK)
+45 25293277
EY - Eirik Albrigtsen

Eirik Albrigtsen

EY Nordic CPR Advisory Services Leader
Partner, EY (NO)
+47 41475944
EY - Erik Richard Haagensen

Erik Richard Haagensen

EY Nordic CPR Transaction Services Leader
Partner, EY (NO)
+47 905 66 778
EY - Jennifer Rock-Baley

Jennifer Rock-Baley

EY Nordic CPR Assurance Leader
Partner, EY (SE)
+46 70 318 90 64
EY - Marc Schlaeger

Marc Schlaeger

EY Nordic CPR Tax Leader
Partner, EY (DK)
+45 51582822
EY - Micael Carlsson

Micael Carlsson

EY Nordic CPR Transaction strategy and operations leader
+46 73 0859432

Key CPR Advisory Services country contacts: