Country Profile: Norway offers affluent consumers
Red with a blue cross outlined in white, the colors recall Norway’s past political unions with Denmark (red and white) and Sweden (blue).
Location: In northern Europe, west of Sweden and bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, Norway is about twice the size of Georgia.
Language: Bokmal and Nynorsk Norwegian, with small Finnish-speaking groups.
Total Population: 5.5 million
Government: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Religion: Church of Norway (Evangelical Lutheran, 70%), Muslim, Catholic
Economy: A modern, energy-rich country, Norway maintains a strong financial position from a global perspective and benefits from a vibrant private sector, a large state sector, and an extensive social safety net. It is the world’s third largest exporter of natural gas and 13th largest exporter of crude oil, but in anticipation of eventual declines in oil and gas production, Norway saves state revenue from the petroleum sector in the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, valued at more than $1 trillion. That fund now positions the country to better weather the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
News note: Norway began relaxing coronavirus-related travel restrictions in mid-July for fellow Schengen countries that meet certain criteria. (Schengen countries are those 26 European countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement allowing free movement of people and the absence of internal border controls.) Unless a country is still experiencing a high rate of infections, its citizens will be permitted to enter Norway without undergoing a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
GDP (official exchange rate): $399 billion
Currency: Norwegian krone (conversion rate at press time: 1 NOK equals $0.10 USD).
Franchising in Norway: While numerous U.S.-based brands have a presence in Norway, including the usual suspects such as McDonald’s and Domino’s, most of the franchises operating there originated in the country. Still, public knowledge about franchising is relatively limited. Brands hoping to gain a foothold in the market should expect to devote resources to educating consumers on the concept and franchise business model in general, highlighting local ownership. Norway has a limited market size with 5.5 million people distributed over a large geographical area. Those consumers, however, are educated and affluent, with Norway’s GDP per capita based on purchasing power parities exceeding $72,000.
World Bank ease of doing business rank: 9.