A physical store plays a key role in the retail trade of home and living products, both with regard to seeking pre-purchase information and the actual purchase. Digital channels and mobile platforms in particular are increasingly important, with the coronavirus crisis accelerating the development. The place of purchase is often decided on based on price, but the selection of products and quality, among other factors, are also important selection criteria for many. The coronavirus is threatening the most important season of the hardware store sector, the largest sector within the specialty goods trade. An increase in the tax credit for household expenses would quickly help the sector.
Month: April 2020
The Finnish Commerce Federation and Service Sector Employers Palta propose a salary subsidy to shorten temporary layoffs and support the restarting of operations. The subsidy would be targeted at companies that have suffered the most due to the restrictions during the coronavirus crisis. Over 150,000 Finns have been laid off temporarily.
The acute coronavirus crisis has dramatically decreased shopping in stores, and it is evident particularly as a crash in sales in specialty goods trade. However, digital shopping is increasing and one-fifth of consumers intend to make more purchases online as the crisis continues. Consumers in older age groups are also willing to try online shopping, and do more of it. The pandemic has already caused a wave of layoffs and dismissals in the commerce sector, and the Finnish Commerce Federation is calling for urgent direct support for companies.
Online stores outside the EU gain an unfair and significant competitive edge compared to Finnish stores. One of the main differences arises from product safety legislation. To strengthen fair competition as well as consumer safety, product safety legislation should also be applied to consumer sales outside of the EU.
The Government’s decision from today to increase corporate support was welcome as such, but its size and content were a disappointment for the commerce sector. Stores are suffering as the demand for specialty and other goods has collapsed, and the direct support they desperately need was not included in the Government’s decision. The Finnish Commerce Federation is worried that the coronavirus pandemic will cause a wave of bankruptcies in the sector that employs the most people.
The survey, conducted by the Finnish Commerce Federation for member companies, reveals that almost two fifths of commerce sector companies report a slump of over 50% in turnover and, for more than a quarter, the drop has been in excess of 70%. More than 50% of commerce sector companies have reduced the number of employees, in most cases through layoffs. The Finnish Government’s support measures are ineffective in tackling the problems in commerce.
The recent e-commerce survey conducted by the Finnish Commerce Federation shows that the digitalisation of the Finnish commerce sector has been rapid and that domestic e-commerce has especially taken over a bigger share of the market. Domestic online stores are also appreciated. Despite this, a lot remains to be done in internationalisation of the Finnish e-commerce. Online grocery trade has grown at a furious pace, and the coronavirus pandemic will most likely further accelerate growth.