Finnish retailers’ reflections on the opportunities and challenges foreign visitors bring to their business
The purpose of this research was to explore Finnish retailers’ reflections on the opportunities and challenges foreign visitors bring to their business. According to the retailers interviewed in this study, there are nowadays foreign visitors in Helsinki throughout the year and the boundaries between seasons have become more blurred. During the past two years the customer base in the stores has become both more international and younger.
The growth comes mainly from China and from other Asian countries. Many of the stores see the present as a transition time where the differences between the younger and the older generation are highlighted, especially among the Chinese and Russian visitors. According to the respondents’ experiences, the younger generation travels more solo than in groups. They also speak better English and understand the Western service culture better compared to the older generation.
The foreign visitors shopping in Finland value authenticity and traceability. Also products that are of Finnish origin and can only be bought in Finland are in demand. Foreign visitors are especially interested in Finnish design classics, exotic Finnish products and small souvenirs. All the interviewed companies have a positive mindset towards the future, and even more foreign visitors are hoped to visit the stores. What many of the interviewees commented on, is that creating an experience for the customers in the stores becomes more and more important in the future.
The focus in this research was on companies selling Finnish design and handicraft. In total, 14 stores located in Helsinki city centre took part in the research. The research is a follow-up study for the one made in 2016 (Ulkomaiset matkailijat shoppailijoina – Kauppiaiden näkökulma).
Please find below presentations in English and Finnish as well as the Executive Summary of the research report, highlighting the main results. The full report is available upon request.