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In this page: Market Access Procedures | Distributing a Product


Market Access Procedures


Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
For goods of a value under DKK 1,000 or EUR 1,000, a verbal declaration at Customs, and presenting the invoice, is sufficient.
For higher values, you must deposit at the Customs office:
1) a brief declaration (air or maritime manifest) to conclude the collection of the goods.
2) a common law declaration (SAD, single administrative document), as well as the accompanying documents to allow their clearance.
The SAD form can be obtained from Chambers of Commerce or an approved printer. A computerised Customs clearance platform (SOFI: International freight computer system) can be accessed in Customs offices or in some Chambers of Commerce.

In the case of deliveries and purchases within the European Community, the declaration of exchange of goods (DEB) or Intrastate declaration must be sent to the Customs service.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustoms, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

The Union Customs Code will fully enter into force in May 2016. It replaces the Modernised Customs Code (MCC) and simplifies various procedures, such as introducing a paperless environment, centralised clearance, and more. You can check the Customs website of the EU for updates.

Specific Import Procedures
The is a wide range of EU regulations that importers should see before starting to import products in Denmark. It is especially the case for agricultural and fisheries products.
Importing Samples
For the import, export and re-export of commercial samples the ATA (Temporary Admission) book can be used. It must be written on the product that it is a free sample and that it may not be sold.

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Customs threshold (from which tariffs are required)
Customs duties are not charged if the total value of the goods does not exceed DKK 1,150 (excluding shipping charges and insurance).
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
Operations carried out within the EEA are duty-free.
The Common Customs Tariff of the European Union applies to goods originating outside Europe. Generally the duty is relatively low, especially for industrial products (4.2% on average).
Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
Customs duties are higher on textile and food industry products (average duty 17.3%).
Preferential Rates
Granted to imports from countries with which the European Union has signed trade agreements.
Customs Classification
The Combined Nomenclature of the European Community (EC) integrates the HS nomenclature and supplements it with its own subheadings with an eight-digit code number and its own Legal Notes created for Community purposes.
Method of Calculation of Duties
Ad Valorem on the CIF value of the imports
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
Excise duties are also levied on certain products, especially on spirit.

To get further information on VAT rates in Denmark, please check the list of vat rates applied within the European Union, as well as the VAT Guide for Foreign Enterprises 2002.

More detailed information on excise duties is available concerning alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, energy products on the European Commission website.

Labeling and Packaging Rules

It must conform to European legislation on the prevention of health risks to consumers and the protection of the environment, especially as regards waste treatment. Packaging in wood or vegetable matter must be subjected to a phytosanitary inspection.
For further information, consult the summary of European legislation concerning this.
Languages Permitted on Packaging and Labeling
Unit of Measurement
Metric system
Mark of Origin "Made In"
Certain products must be marked clearly with the country of origin. In some cases, the importer can do the marking following arrival of the goods in Denmark.
Labeling Requirements
Age of consumption for alcohol, colorings, standards, etc.
Specific Regulations
European legislation provides for specific labeling rules for certain products such as foodstuffs, household equipment, sportswear, textiles, etc.

Distributing a Product


Distribution Network

Types of Outlet

Hypermarkets, supermarkets and mini-markets
Located on the outskirts of towns. They sell foodstuffs and non food products. Mini-markets are smaller and located in town.
Bilka, Dansk Supermarket.
Specialized hypermarkets
Hypermarkets specialized in one family of products.
Department stores
Located in the town center on several floors. They have various specialized departments.
Illum, Magasin du Nord.
Hard discount
Mainly for food. They sell products of the distributor's own brand or no brand at all. People prefer them for their discount prices.
Lidl, Aldi
Small shops
Specialized local shops: grocers, butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, cheese shops, delicatessens, bakers, cake shops, florists. People prefer them for the quality of their products, human contact and advice.
Cash and Carry
Hypermarkets reserved for professionals.

Evolution of the Retail Sector

Growth and Regulation
The retail market is well developed in Denmark, and retail sales exceeded US$25.2 billion in 2016. According to Euromonitor, sales in the packaged food retail in Denmark reached nearly US$8.8 billion in 2016, and is forecast to reach US$10.2 billion in 2021, representing a +13.2% growth. Main categories include baked goods, sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks, soup, breakfast cereals, ice cream and frozen desserts, baby food, ready meals and savory snacks.
In 2016, grocery retailers recorded 1% growth in current value sales, in line with the previous period. The positive performance on the economic climate (+1.3% GDP growth in 2016) in the country and improvement in the consumer confidence index supported this development.

Price sensitive, the Danish shopper only opts for quality brand when the price is right. As a consequence, there was a better performance of discounters over other channels in grocery retailing, recording 2% growth in value sales, and 37% in value share within modern grocery retailers.
On the other side, supermarkets dropped to 23% in value share, -4.0pt in comparison to the previous period, suffering from their pricing level. In 2016, grocery products in supermarkets held an 87% share, which represented a slow increase over the review period. Within hypermarkets, groceries held a 58% share, with non-grocery products not far behind on 42%. Wider product choice, marketing activities and frequent discounts in hypermarkets, encouraged consumers to purchase non-grocery products from this channel compared to supermarkets

Convenience stores suffered a 1% decline in value sales to reach DKK11 billion in 2016. the high unit price at such outlets forced consumers to do their shopping at other cheaper retailers.
Market Shares
Contrary to other European countries, small businesses (neighbourhood shops) hold an important market share in Danish retail.

There are two main groups in the mass market

-    COOP : leading Danish distributor (37% market share in 2016), owns brands like Kvickly, Brugsen, OBS, Irma and Fakta. Different type of outlets, from hypermarkets, supermarkets and mini-markets to discount stores

-    Dansk Supermarked : challenger with 32.4% market share, owns the discounters Bilka and Netto, with strong performance in 2016.

The other players are :

-    Dagrofa : 12.8% market share
-    Reitan : 11.1% market share
-    Aldi : 3.1% market share
-    Lidl : 2.7% market share
Retail Sector Organisations
Danish chamber of commerce
The Trade Council


Internet access
Internet penetration is exceptionally high in Denmark. Out of the 5.7 billion population, an estimated 97% are internet users. Overall, Denmark is considered as one of the most developed countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of USD 60,114 in 2017 and a good quality of life. The country has a quality, modern and effective network of telecommunications. In 2017, Denmark was crowned as the “most digital country” in the EU according to the Digital Economy and Society Index, a survey by the European Commission.
E-commerce market
Total online sales are estimated to have reached USD 19.2 billion in 2017, a progression of almost 15% compared to the previous year (USD 16.7 billion). In the 2015 Global Retail e-commerce index compiled by AT Kearney, Denmark ranked at the 13th place for the attractiveness of its online market. In this index, Denmark had the best score for consumer behavior but one of the smallest in terms of market size. Moreover, Denmark ranks at the 11th place of the 2016 World Bank Logistics Index. The most visited online stores in Denmark are Amazon (generalist), Saxo (books), Zalando (clothing), eBay (generalist), Cdon (generalist), Coop (garden, appliances, food), Bilka (generalist), El Giganten (multimedia and appliances). Amazon is a key player in Europe and Denmark is no exception to this. Danish people also use second-hand buying and selling websites. The most popular of them are LetGo and DBA. Denmark online customers also buy from other countries: in 2017, 32% of Danish e-shoppers purchased from abroad. The main foreign markets solicited were Great Britain, Germany, China, the USA and Sweden. Their general high level of income gives Danish customers a strong purchasing power in other markets. In contrast, Danish e-commerce tends to be a bit expensive for foreign customers.
E-commerce sales and customers
In 2017, the most successful categories in online shopping were fashion (clothing, shoes & lifestyle), followed by media and entertainment, information technology, telecom, home and garden. Moreover, flight tickets, accommodations, package travel and insurances are the most purchased online services in Denmark. The average annual spending per person in e-commerce has grown steadily during the past years and established at more than 3,500 US dollars in 2017. The use of cell phone has deeply and quickly transformed the e-commerce sector and now at least 1 out of 4 Danish e-shopper makes a purchase via their smartphone each month. In a recent study made by the PostNord group (Scandinavian postal company), Danish respondents stressed the importance of being able to pay via credit/debit card and especially with Dankort, the national debit card. Many online shops only accept Dankort for credit/debit card payment as this system does not charge additional fees. Consequently, debit/credit card is the most popular payment method in Denmark: it is the favorite option of more than 80% of Danish e-shoppers, followed by the smartphone app MobilePay (8%), systems such as Paypal, Payson or similar (5%), invoice payment (3%) and bank transfer (1%). According to the same study by NordPost, Danish consumers are among the most demanding in terms of delivery. The country is geographically small and deliveries are expected to be made in a maximum period of three business days.
Social media
Social media are well developed in Denmark. Indeed, the Danish population seems to have always been open to new technologies.  As a matter of fact, when Facebook was launched, Denmark had one of the highest numbers of subscribers in the world. Facebook (used by 84% of internet users) and Youtube (75%) are the two most popular social media platforms. However, Instagram (25%), Snapchat (21%), Twitter (14%) and WhatsApp (9%) have not experienced the same success. 

Distance Selling

Evolution of the Sector
Direct selling in Denmark a rather marginal activity. The sector's total sales in 2016 amounted to USD 82 million, a 3.1% progression from 2015 but a relatively low figure compared to its neighbors (USD 213 million in Finland, 273 million in Sweden 157 million in Norway, 15,787 million in Germany). Denmark is a small country geographically and has a population of barely 6 million inhabitants. Danes are accustomed to have an easy and fast access to stores while door-to-door sales are generally considered an intrusion on privacy and are, with few exceptions, prohibited by law. In contrast, online shopping is developing very well. Despite this tendency, around 64,000 persons were considered as professionals of the direct selling sector in 2016 and some companies have succeeded in making a break-through. Indeed, Tupperware has been present in the Nordic countries since 1962 and is now the biggest direct selling company in Denmark. Another company like Zinzino, which mainly sales espresso machines, has recorded increases in sales in the last couple of years.

Emailin, mail order and teleshopping are the different forms of direct selling in Denmark. Telephone marketing is permitted but its success rate with the Danish consumer has been disappointing.

One should note that there is a wide range of EU legislation that impacts the direct marketing sector. In 2011, the EU overhauled its consumer protection legislation and merged several existing rules into a single rulebook - “the Consumer Rights Directive.” The provisions of this Directive will apply to contracts concluded after June 13, 2014,


Commercial Intermediaries

  • Type of Organization
Methods of distribution in Denmark vary with the type of product. Capital goods, commodities and industrial raw materials are most often handled by non-stocking sales agents. Specialized and high-technology products are frequently sold through fully-owned subsidiaries. Consumer goods are usually sold through importing agents and distributors, but are increasingly being imported directly by major retail and department stores.

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
Danish commercial agents form a select and competitive group of businesses.
Where to Be Vigilant
There is an increasing trend for foreign companies to establish branch offices in Denmark. In these cases, commercial agents are therefore useless.
The Average Amount of Commission
In the European Union, the Council Directive 86/653/EEC is the key document regarding agent's commission.
Breach of Contract
As for agent's commission, you have to refer to the the Council Directive 86/653/EE.
Finding a Commercial Agent
Association of Commercial Agents of Denmark (DAF)
Tel. : 0045 33950500
Fax : 0045 33950644
Contact by Email

Learn more about Traders, Agents in Denmark on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.



Evolution of the Sector
Franchising as a business model is common in Denmark, albeit not to the same degree as in the United States.  At least 200 companies are currently operating franchises and many these concepts are homegrown. Franchising can be found in a large range of Danish industries, e.g.  retail, transportation, personal services, property services, hotels, and restaurants.
The recent economic downturn has hit franchising on several levels. The slow pace in consumer spending improvements has affected businesses, especially franchises operating within the retail sector, just like the slowdown of the housing market has led to the closing of many real estate franchise units, yet master franchises find it difficult to secure financing.  This proves a challenge when trying to obtain master licenses in Denmark. The Danish Franchising Association was established in 1984 and is a member of the International Franchising Association.
There is no legal definition of franchising. However, the Danish Franchise Association has adopted the European Code of Ethics for Franchising, which contains a definition of franchising (see Article 1 of the code)
For Further Information
The Consumer Ombudsman, Responsible for enforcing market law
the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, Responsible for enforcing competition law

Finding Assistance

Recommended Resource
Danish Exporters Association

Learn more about Sales in Denmark on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.


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Last Updates: May 2018