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CHRISTMAS

This is how big Black Friday has become in Norway

Norwegians set a Black Friday spending record in 2015 and if Google search trends are any indication, a new record is likely this year.

This is how big Black Friday has become in Norway
Shoppers at last year's Black Friday sale at the Norwegian Outlet in Akershus. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix
Norwegian shoppers have fully embraced Black Friday, the super sales event that marks the beginning of the Christmas consumer season. 
 
The trend started in the United States, where Black Friday is held the day after Thanksgiving. The spending frenzy earned its name as the day that allowed retailers to operate at a profit (“in the black”  as opposed to “in the red”). 
 
Despite its American roots, Black Friday has quickly become Norway’s most important shopping day. Norwegians pulled out their credit and debit cards a full 7.6 million times on Black Friday last year, spending over 3.1 billion kroner. 
 
That set a new spending record for the day, beating the 2014 Black Friday results by 19.5 percent according to figures from Nets and BankAxept. 
 
According to research done by online savings portal CupoNation, Norwegians’ interest in Black Friday has exploded in just a few short years. 
 
“Not so many years ago, almost no one in Norway knew about the American shopping tradition Black Friday. But over the last couple of years, more and more stores, both online and ‘in the real world’, have started to provide discounts on this specific day in November,” Pål Kaalaas, the company’s digital marketing manager for Norway, told The Local. 
 
The rapid increase in interest is reflected by Norwegians’ Google searches for Black Friday info and deals. On Google's 0-100 search interest scale, Black Friday related searches went from just four in 2010 to 100 in November 2015, when there were over 200,000 Norwegian Google searches for Black Friday. 
 
Image: CupoNation
Image: CupoNation
 
The unofficial holiday has even caught up on another imported American tradition, Halloween. According to CupoNation’s research of Google searches, Black Friday has quickly gained on Halloween over the past five years and now threatens to overtake it in terms of online interest.
 
Image: CupoNation
Image: CupoNation
 
And although there are still a handful of days before the consumer madness begins, Google results show that many shoppers in Norway are already plotting their spending. 
 
Image: CupoNation
Image: CupoNation
 
As a whole, Norwegians are expected to increase their Christmas spending by four percent over last year according to projects from the Enterprise Federation of Norway (Virke).

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CHRISTMAS

Could Christmas in Norway be affected by new Covid-19 measures?

Norway’s government has in the last two days announced tightened rules relating to Covid-19 isolation and face masks. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre sought to reassure the public over plans for the Christmas holidays.

Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th.
Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th. Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

The government on Tuesday announced new measures relating to quarantine rules for confirmed Covid-19 cases and face mask guidelines.

The measures, which are being introduced in response to increasing infection numbers, include more stringent isolation rules, face mask recommendations and a push to vaccinate over 65s with booster jabs as soon as possible.

“On one side, we must avoid full hospitals and strain on the health system. On the other side we must live as normally as possible. We must keep finding the right balance in the measures,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement.

Tighter quarantine rules for suspected cases with the new Omicron variant were meanwhile launched on Monday. People who test positive for or are believed to be infected with the Omicron variant will need to isolate for longer than others with the virus.

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In comments during a briefing to press on Tuesday, Støre sought to reassure the public over plans to spend Christmas with loved ones.

“The measures we have introduced are settings that make it possible to celebrate a good Christmas while keeping in mind what you can do with your loved ones,” the PM said in comments reported by newspaper VG.

“We can plan to be with our families at Christmas,” he added.

Last year saw Christmas in Norway significantly impacted by restrictions on the number of people who could meet and mixing between households.

Such far-reaching restrictions are not expected in 2021. Støre did not however rule out additional measures being introduced before December 24th.

“What we have presented today is based on the knowledge we already have,” he said.

“It is the total restrictions that count. If we are in the same situation (as now) when we get to December 24th, you can celebrate Christmas normally,” Støre said, but noted the virus would be present throughout the winter.

The aim of any measures is to keep the pandemic under control throughout the winter, he added.

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