Speciality shops in particular have been affected by the growth of foreign e-commerce, says the Finnish Commerce Federation. (Laura Ukkonen – Lehtikuva)


MANY FINNISH retail and wholesale businesses will face a fierce battle for survival in the coming decades, predicts the Finnish Commerce Federation.

The Finnish Commerce Federation on Monday estimated that over a fifth – or possibly up to two-fifths – of retailers and wholesalers will disappear from the country by 2030 as a result of major trends such as digitalisation, urbanisation, international competition and population ageing.

Speciality businesses are expected to be the hardest hit segment of the commerce sector, particularly due to the continuing growth of foreign e-commerce.

“There has been talk about the digital and structural change of commerce for some time, but now the change is visible more clearly than before in both outcomes and forecasts. This has to be taken more into consideration in decision-making at the national and EU level,” stressed Mari Kiviniemi, the managing director of the Finnish Commerce Federation.

The Commerce Federation also revealed that the number of commerce businesses established no earlier than five years ago has been on the decline, particularly in the fields of speciality and wholesale trade.

“This is disconcerting because new companies and ideas promote the vitality of the industry,” commented chief economist Jaana Kurjenoja.

The development is alarming also from the viewpoint of employment and the economy, according to the Commerce Federation. Commerce, it explained, is the country’s largest employer and by far the largest employer of young people, as well as accounts for 10 per cent of the gross domestic product of Finland.

It stressed that the sector should therefore not be burdened with obligations or regulations that do not apply to foreign commerce businesses and should be made free of monopolies to to enhance productivity.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT