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Danish companies not utilising major potential in online exports

Only one out of ten Danish companies exports digitally, despite the major potential latent in online exports. The Confederation of Danish Industry proposes that the government set up an online exports centre to help companies get started.
The picture shows the headquarters of Dacapo Stainless in Jutland. The company is among the 10 per cent of Danish enterprises that export via digital channels.

Publiceret: 05.04.2017
Af Laura Flader mail

Danish companies are tied with Icelandic companies as the European champions in online shopping. However, Danish companies’ own digital sales to other countries are lagging behind.

When it comes to online exports, Denmark comes in eighth when compared to the rest of EU countries, since only 10 per cent of Danish companies export online. The EU average lies at eight per cent.

“Denmark exports just under DKK 1,100 billion per year, which is equivalent to approximately 775,000 jobs. Only two per cent of those exports are currently sold via Danish companies’ international online shops. This figure is much too low if we’re to maintain our export jobs - and preferably create even more jobs,” says Annette Falberg, director of the Danish Commercial Industries Federation.
 
See also: Food export to the Middleeast has doubled

Dacapo Stainless: Online exports are a growth parameter

The Danish steel manufacturer Dacapo Stainless is one of the Danish companies that exports via digital channels. They export stainless steel to large and medium-sized end users, and they’ve been doing it since January 2014.

“We’re generally exporting more and more, and exports are one of our growth generators. About 10 per cent of our total revenue comes from online exports,” says Jesper Christensen, CFO at Dacapo Stainless.

The company had online exports to 25 different countries in 2016, and products were primarily sent to Scandinavian and Northern European countries. In the future, the company will focus further on online exports.

“We’re a growth company and online exports and e-commerce will be two important parameters for us in the future. Stainless steel is a volume product, so a certain size is required if we’re to be competitive. We’ve built up this critical size, among other things, through digital sales to our export markets,” says Jesper Christensen.

See also: Globalisation in your redwine

Transition to online exports can be a complicated process
Right now, an increasing portion of the world’s trade is moving to digital channels, and according to Annette Falberg, it is therefore critical that companies have an online presence in order to maintain existing market shares and conquer new markets. But perhaps there is a reason why all companies are not yet exporting online.

“Starting online exports might sound easy, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Even though you’ve made a selection and figured out that a potential market in a country exists, there are quite a few things that an international website must take into account,” says Annette Falberg.

This could e.g. be other rules for marketing, other payment solutions than in Denmark, logistics with a new partner, and translation of the website into a new language. In addition, there are many Danish companies that do not have the resources required to get started digitally in a new country.

See also: Half of Danish exports comes from 100 companies

DI proposes creation of online export centre

To make it easier for Danish companies to access the large potential latent in online exports, the Confederation of Danish Industry proposes that the government set up an online export centre where Danish companies can get help.

“We propose that the government spend DKK 42 million in the first year on a greater overall initiative to support online exports, in which a new centre for e-commerce exports is set up. Here, up to 10,000 Danish companies would be able to get help over a 4-year period to figure out legislation and logistics when foreigners buy products on their online shops,” says Annette Falberg.

The money would come from the existing export promotion efforts and the companies would pay half of the expenses for the course themselves. In addition, they must subsequently and free of charge be at the disposal of other companies facing the same challenges.

We’re a growth company and online exports and e-commerce will be two important parameters for us in the future.
JESPER CHRISTENSEN, CFO AT DACAPO STAINLESS
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PUBLISHED: 4/5/2017 LAST MODIFIED: 4/5/2017