Finland is a sophisticated market with a high standard of living and a well-educated workforce. It is characterised by growth in the Finnish consumers' purchasing power, which has increased Finnish imports.
The most important factors affecting Finnish consumer behaviour are quality, safety and the product origin. Brand is considered a strong signal of quality. Finns favour national products, especially regarding food (according to a research commissioned by K Group on food and consumer habits, Finnish consumers increasingly invest in food quality and grocery stores are expected to have a wider selection of food than before).
Finnish consumers tend to favour simple and practical products with simple packaging, as well as products that are non-harmful for the environment. In an economic forecast, the Bank of Finland predicted that private consumption will increase on the back of growing employment and a boost to consumer purchasing power. However the Bank foresees households’ savings rate remaining negative and also expects them to continue to amass more debt. Inflation is expected to remain below that of the rest of the Eurozone between 2017 and 2020. Meanwhile the central bank expects the savings rate among households to decline due to the country’s ageing population. A growing proportion of household incomes represent pensions and other social benefits.
Finns feel confident regarding their financial situation and have increased their level of debt in recent years. By mid-2017, household debt amounted to nearly 128% of income and in 2020 that figure is set to reach 129% of income, according to an economic outlook by the Bank of Finland. Consumer credit accounts for a significant share (around 12%) of aggregate household debt.
As the online environment allows selling worldwide without building traditional brick-and-mortar stores to every country, expanding the ecommerce business abroad is becoming increasingly tempting. Finland among other Scandinavian countries is an interesting market area: according to statistics Finland has comparatively high purchasing power and it can also be seen as a gateway to Russia. We interviewed a Swedish ecommerce service provider and a web store to hear out their thoughts about selling to Finland online. However, there are always some obstacles in the way, as Karlsson points out:
“Entering a new market is a rather big challenge regardless of which one you choose to start with. Even though Finland and Sweden in many ways are quite similar there are differences that need to be taken into account for a successful launch in Finland. The overall biggest challenge regardless of market is usually the cost for translation of content to new languages. For instance with the Finnish language you need to take into account that it is a ‘long’ language that may even affect the design of the web shop. 
Companies in Finland have been slow to utilize digital marketing. Domestic firms have been edged out by U.S. firms. Facebook and Google established a strong position in Finland, accounting for approximately half of the digital marketing in Finland. Search engine marketing and display advertising are the most utilized digital marketing. The best performing Finnish company is Sonera and the strongest industry is telecom. In 2014, only 23 percent of all media marketing was digital advertising.
Fashion is the most popular online retail sector in Finland, followed by media and home electronics. Travel is by-far the most popular vertical for purchases via a mobile device while apparel and electronics are showing signs of expansion. The key brands to watch, especially in the international space, are Amazon, CDon, eBay, HM.com and Zalando. CDon and Komple are particularly interesting brands worth investigating further.
Shops and deparment stores in Finland are allowed to be open every day of the week, excluding the public holidays mentioned below.
New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Epiphany (Jan 6), Good Friday, Easter Day, 1st of May, Mothers’ Day (2nd Sun in May), Ascension Day, Whitsuntide, Midsummer Day, All Saints’ Day, Fathers’ Day (2nd Sun in Nov), Independence Day (Dec 6) and Christmas Day (Dec 25).
On Midsummer Eve and Christmas Eve shops are allowed to be open between 7am and 12 noon.
Radio and TV advertising of mild alcohol drinks can only be aired after 10 p.m. instead of current 9 p.m.. Outdoor advertisement of mild alcohol products has been banned in order to protect young people in particular (however, ice hockey stadiums will be an exception). While advertising on newspapers and internet continues to be admissible, Finnish companies maintaining alcohol related Internet sites must delete or block any customer praise of alcohol. Click here to have more information about the alcohol marketing regulations in Finland.
The advertising of medicinal products must not be improper or induce people to use the products unnecessarily.
Advertising for children under 18 is more strict. The word "free" is not allowed unless the product is free of charge with no further involvement. In 2007 a regulation on nutrition and health claims entered into force - "Regulation 1924/2006" - focused on the adverstising of nutrition claims such as “low fat” or “high in vitamin C” and health claims such as “helps lower cholesterol.”