Payments have always evolved, but never at the pace we see today

Smartphones and connected devices have brought ease, speed, and convenience to our daily lives. They’ve transformed the way we spend and manage our money.

Open Banking regulation has allowed fintechs and other innovators the opportunity to develop seamless, digital first payment experiences, which have changed our expectations of what great feels like.

So, it’s no surprise to find that European ecommerce is booming – a trend that’s here to stay. By 2026, the European ecommerce market is set to reach $2.8tn, 75% higher than 2021 levels.¹

european ecommerce market chart

As a result, there will be growing opportunities for continued innovation to better support SMBs and their customers.

Consumers have more choice than ever before

Digital wallets are now the most popular digital payment method, accounting for nearly 30% of all ecommerce spend.¹ This is particularly the case amongst Gen Zs, with 80% of 18-24 year olds already comfortable using them.²

We are also seeing strong growth in Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) adoption. This payment method now comprises 10% of ecommerce spending³ and 30% of European consumers have already used it.¹

europe e com payment methods chart

But there are obstacles to overcome

fraud illustration

Fraud is a key challenge to future ecommerce growth

The shift to digital has also created an opportunity for fraudsters, who are eager to take advantage of vulnerabilities they find in the market.

Across Europe, digital fraud is having a significant impact, with the average fraud rates for card not present (CNP) transactions 10 times higher than those seen in the face-to-face (F2F) environment.⁵

Globally, the most common digital fraud types include phishing, which involves duping individuals to share sensitive data, and clean fraud, where they use stolen data to make a purchase look genuine.

checkout illustration

Checkout friction is a threat to merchant sales

To help mitigate the risk of fraud and to verify the consumer is who they say they are, the industry has rolled out the use of Two Factor Authentication (2FA).

This means consumers must either memorise (multiple) passwords or use a one-time passcode sent to their device. As a result, across Europe, the average time taken to complete checkout now exceeds 3 minutes.⁶

This is having a significant impact on cart abandonment, especially as 62% of consumers have indicated they are likely to give up on a purchase when checkout takes longer than 2 minutes.⁶

The Nordics are an ecommerce success story

Sweden and Denmark are leading the way

Sweden had the biggest ecommerce
market in 2022,³ amounting to

$ 39 bn

Looking at ecommerce's share of all transactions,
Denmark is most active online,³ reaching

21 %

Nordic consumers have rapidly adopted BNPL solutions

Nearly 50% of consumers have used it in the last 6 months¹ – 20pp higher than the European (ever used) average.¹

Even more impressive is that in Sweden, BNPL represents 24% of total ecommerce spend – the highest anywhere in the world.³ This is closely followed by Norway at 18%.³

couple on sofa

Digital wallet adoption exceeds 80% in each Nordic region

mobile wallet adoption chart

This is largely due to the popularity of domestic wallets

In Norway alone, nearly 75% of consumers use Vipps, while Sweden closely follows, with 69% of consumers using their domestic solution, Swish.¹

digital wallet country chart

fastest growing online payment method chart

As the likes of Apple Pay, Google Pay™ and more continue to be rolled out across the Nordics, digital wallets usage is set to increase further.

Iceland is a great example. Here, Apple Pay is the most popular wallet used and penetration rates are very high, reaching 29% of all ecommerce spend.¹

Further evidence of the rising popularity of digital wallets can be found when looking at usage in specific sectors. In travel, fashion and accessories, streaming services, event tickets and food delivery, growth rates all exceed 33%.¹

Nordic ecommerce is set to grow a further 49% by 2026

The future is bright for ecommerce in the Nordics. Market growth is expected to be nearly 3 times faster than F2F.³

Similarly, as digital wallets become more widely available, we expect to see continued adoption and growth in usage. In Europe as a whole, the forecasts are for nearly 200m more active users, reaching a total of 580m by 2025.¹

Simultaneously, consumers are showing their growing preference for using Card on File (CoF) solutions. It helps reduce friction by removing the need for consumers to enter their details at checkout. Over 50% of Nordic consumers now save their credentials on file with a merchant, reaching as high as 74% in Sweden and Iceland.¹

nordic ecommerce growth chart

Similar to Europe, fraud and checkout friction are key risks

80% value lost to fraud chart

Fraud

Like the rest of Europe, digital fraud has also been a key issue in the Nordics, where 80% of all value lost to fraud is from CNP channels.¹

Nordic consumers are experiencing fraud in a variety of ways, with the most common being their card details being stolen and having their bank account or digital wallet hacked.¹

43% of transactions made with manual entry chart

Checkout friction

Despite the growing popularity of CoF, almost half of ecommerce transactions today continue to be made through the friction heavy manual entry process.¹

This journey consistently falls short of the speed, ease and convenience consumers are looking for.

What does this mean for payment enablers and merchants?

man on mobile shopping

Considerations for payment enablers

The Nordic ecommerce market represents a significant opportunity for enablers to tap into a growing sector that embraces innovation.

However, to capitalise on this potential, they must address the challenges of fraud and checkout friction.

By offering a consistently secure and seamless payment experience, solution providers can establish trust - setting the stage for sustained growth and success in one of the world’s most digitally advanced markets.

coworkers working together

Implications for merchant strategy

Merchants must keep up with rapidly evolving expectations. In particular, they will need to replicate and enhance the choice, security and trust consumers have with F2F.

Without chip-and-pin, merchants also need a solution that easily authenticates the customer, confirming they are who they claim to be.

And the entire end-to-end user experience needs to be as ‘invisible’ as possible, otherwise merchants will continue to face the risk and frustration of high basket abandonment.

The industry is already innovating with new emerging solutions that help solve these challenges and make life even better for merchants

Network tokenization

As the popularity of CoF grows across the region, it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure consumer credentials are kept safe and secure.

Network tokenization addresses this issue as it protects sensitive cardholder details and enables a more seamless checkout experience.

When a consumer saves their card details online with a merchant, in a wallet, on their phone, or anywhere in the digital world, the PAN isn’t saved – a token is, instead.

% of tokenized cnp payments chart

house with padlock icon

Unique, tamper proof,
and secure

The token will only work when making a payment at the specific merchant it’s registered with.

chain of ticks icon

Flexibility to cater
for all schemes

Tokens can work across all payment schemes to help deliver a consistent checkout experience.

hand holding token icon

A foundation for
payment innovation

Tokens can be integrated with several other digital solutions to help enhance the overall online checkout experience.

For these reasons, tokens are fast becoming a must have capability across the industry.

Tap into the Nordic ecommerce growth opportunity with Visa

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Sources:
1. Visa Nordic Digital Payments Study, 2023.
2. Decoding the European Mobile Wallet Evolution, Visa, 2023.
3. FIS Global Payments Report, 2023.
4. Global VBS SMB Strategy Refresh, SMB Trend Pack Compendium, Conducted by KoreFusion, Commissioned by Visa, August 2022.
5. Visa 2022 fraud data.
6. UK consumers expect fast and frictionless payment journeys, Tink, May 2022.
7. Number of open banking third party provider (TPP) registrations in Europe as of the 2nd quarter 2023, by country, Statista, 2024.
8. Visa European Mobile Wallet Evolution Study 2023.


Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Google Pay is a trademark of Google LLC


Case studies, statistics, research and recommendations are provided “AS IS” and intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for operational, marketing, legal, technical, tax, financial or other advice. Visa Inc. does not make any warranty or representation as to the completeness or accuracy of the Information within this document, nor assume any liability or responsibility that may result from reliance on such Information. The Information contained herein is not intended as legal advice, and readers are encouraged to seek the advice of a competent legal professional where such advice is required.