Hotel D'Angleterre was one of the many places to switch on its Christmas lights over the weekend. Photo: Claus Bech/Scanpix
With Tivoli open for the Christmas season and the holiday lights in downtown Copenhagen switched on over the weekend, shopping season is officially underway.
The Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) predicts that Danes will spend 7.6 billion kroner ($1.3 billion) on Christmas shopping in 2014, or an average of 2,900 kroner (just under $500) per household.
That's the same level of spending as in 2012 and 2013.
And with online sales now accounting for 16 percent of Christmas transactions in Denmark, bricks-and-mortar stores have to get creative to get Danes to come out and open their pocketbooks. That’s why many shopping areas in Copenhagen and beyond make a big deal out of the start of the Christmas season. At the upscale downtown shopping centre Illum, for example, a girls’ choir performed as Santa made the rounds and fake snow fell from the windows.
See also: IN PICTURES: Christmas in Tivoli
The elaborate Christmas decorations often get passersby to stop in their tracks and take photos, and that can lead to purchases.
“Many of the best stores are good at appealing to the senses so customers get the urge to touch and try the products, and from Ikea to Magasin, there is a big investment in having more visible personnel on the selling floor,” Henning Bahr, the head of Retail Institute Scandinavia, told Politiken.
In recent years, Danes have even imported another Christmas shopping phenomenon: the American Black Friday. In 2013, the consumer price comparison website PriceRunner experienced a 98 percent increase in traffic on Black Friday, which in the US is the day after Thanksgiving and is the kick-start of the Christmas shopping season as stores offer deeply discounted prices.
According to a PriceRunner spokesman, the Black Friday phenomenon first came to Denmark in 2010 and had its real breakthrough last year.
“The shops experience a clear advantage with it. It is free marketing and therefore it’s just a matter of getting all of the stores to get on board. The phenomenon is spreading quickly and is creating a new tradition that the stores can be a part of,” PriceRunner’s Martin Andersen told Metroxpress after last year’s Black Friday success.
Field’s, the largest shopping centre in Denmark, is already running ads promoting its Black Friday sales on November 28th.