Danish Black Friday sales fall short of record

Total takings on consumer day Black Friday in Denmark this year reached 1.94 billion kroner (260 million euros).

Danish Black Friday sales fall short of record
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Scanpix 2017

That is a reduction of eight percent relative to sales in 2017, according to payment service provider Nets, which operates Denmark’s Dankort debit card system.

“This is probably a reflection of the fact that many stores this year decided to spread their offers across several days,” Nets Denmark director Jeppe Juhl-Andersen in a press statement.

In 2017, sales reached a record 2.12 billion kroner (284 million euros). Although that total was not surpassed this year, Friday November 23rd is nevertheless set to be the biggest consumer day of 2018.

“In the past it was always on one of the days leading up to Christmas that we used our Dankort the most during the year, but Black Friday has changed the landscape,” Juhl-Andersen said.

“We have to go back to 2014 to find a year where in which Black Friday was not the biggest day for consumer sales,” the Nets director added.

The vast majority of purchases were made in physical stores, although the proportion spent in online stores is increasing.

17 percent of Black Friday 2018 purchases were made using a computer, tablet or smartphone, compared to 14 percent in 2017.

Around one in three purchases was a Christmas present, a sign that Christmas shopping is now established in November, according to the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv).

“Black Friday is a strong concept that appeals to the inner bargain hunter in many Danes. Many Danes use Black Friday to get ahead with their Christmas shopping,” the organisation’s political consultant Tine Marie Andersen said in a press statement.

This year’s edition of Black Friday was the fifth-largest sales day of all time in Denmark.


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How is Denmark’s economy handling inflation and rate rises?

Denmark's economy is now expected to avoid a recession in the coming years, with fewer people losing their jobs than expected, despite high levels of inflation and rising interest rates, The Danish Economic Council has said in a new report.

How is Denmark's economy handling inflation and rate rises?

The council, led by four university economics professors commonly referred to as “the wise men” or vismænd in Denmark, gave a much rosier picture of Denmark’s economy in its spring report, published on Tuesday, than it did in its autumn report last year. 

“We, like many others, are surprised by how employment continues to rise despite inflation and higher interest rates,” the chair or ‘chief wise man’,  Carl-Johan Dalgaard, said in a press release.

“A significant drop in energy prices and a very positive development in exports mean that things have gone better than feared, and as it looks now, the slowdown will therefore be more subdued than we estimated in the autumn.”

In the English summary of its report, the council noted that in the autumn, market expectations were that energy prices would remain at a high level, with “a real concern for energy supply shortages in the winter of 2022/23”.

That the slowdown has been more subdued, it continued was largely due to a significant drop in energy prices compared to the levels seen in late summer 2022, and compared to the market expectations for 2023.  

The council now expects Denmark’s GDP growth to slow to 1 percent in 2023 rather than for the economy to shrink by 0.2 percent, as it predicted in the autumn. 

In 2024, it expects the growth rate to remain the same as in 2003, with another year of 1 percent GDP growth. In its autumn report it expected weaker growth of 0.6 percent in 2024.

What is the outlook for employment? 

In the autumn, the expert group estimated that employment in Denmark would decrease by 100,000 people towards the end of the 2023, with employment in 2024  about 1 percent below the estimated structural level. 

Now, instead, it expects employment will fall by just 50,000 people by 2025.

What does the expert group’s outlook mean for interest rates and government spending? 

Denmark’s finance minister Nikolai Wammen came in for some gentle criticism, with the experts judging that “the 2023 Finance Act, which was adopted in May, should have been tighter”.  The current government’s fiscal policy, it concludes “has not contributed to countering domestic inflationary pressures”. 

The experts expect inflation to stay above 2 percent in 2023 and 2024 and not to fall below 2 percent until 2025. 

If the government decides to follow the council’s advice, the budget in 2024 will have to be at least as tight, if not tighter than that of 2023. 

“Fiscal policy in 2024 should not contribute to increasing demand pressure, rather the opposite,” they write. 

The council also questioned the evidence justifying abolishing the Great Prayer Day holiday, which Denmark’s government has claimed will permanently increase the labour supply by 8,500 full time workers. 

“The council assumes that the abolition of Great Prayer Day will have a short-term positive effect on the labour supply, while there is no evidence of a long-term effect.”