Cross border trade

Updated: 25 November 2022

Next update: 24 February 2023

Change in cross border trade
Change in cross border trade
4th quarter 2020 - 3rd quarter 2021 / 4th quarter 2021 - 3rd quarter 2022

About the statistics

The Cross-border trade survey covers Norwegians' physical trade abroad on trips abroad without accommodation. The statistics are published with the total for expenditure and the number of shopping trips. The survey covers both leisure and business trips. The survey is based on interviews on a representative sample of the Norwegian population between 16-79 years old. Statistics Norway conducts these surveys on a quarterly basis. In addition, annual figures are published for the largest shopping destinations in Sweden and the region of residence for people who have been om cross-border trips abroad without accommodation. The travel survey covers the Norwegian populations travels both within Norway and abroad with at least one overnight stay regardless whether is a leisure or a business trip. Combined with the cross-border trade survey, these provide an overview of Norwegian households' transactions abroad, which is an important input to Statistics Norway's foreign accounts.

Expenditures: NOK spent on goods and services on trips abroad without accommodation. The spending is inclusive of VAT and other taxes.

All legal goods and services are included. Services include varies types of services, such as hairdressing, dental services, service on cars etc.

Food and drink purchased abroad and consumed during the trip are included. Gasoline and diesel purchased abroad and used on the trip (both in Norway and abroad) are also included. Gasoline and diesel purchased in Norway but consumed abroad, are not included.

Smuggled illegal goods are not included. Any fines imposed by the customs authorities are not included in the cross-border trade statistics.

Same day trips: trips without overnight stays abroad whether is leisure or a business trip.

Destination: The cross-border trade statistics are published with five categories as destinations for border trade. These are the three largest shopping destinations for cross-border trade in Sweden: Töcksfors, Charlottenberg and Strømstad, which include Nordby and Svinesund. In addition, there are two other destinations: Sweden elsewhere and Other countries.

Region of residence: There are regional differences when it comes to who cross-border trade and the respondents are grouped by region of residence. The country is split into six different regional division anda region consists of several counties.

Classification of region:

Classification of type of destination:

Name: Cross border trade

Topic: Wholesale and retail trade and service activities

24 February 2023

Division for Business Cycle Statistics

National and regional

Quarterly, published eight weeks after the reference quarter

Annual reporting to Eurostat

Not relevant

To sample the span of Norwegian households’ transactions abroad, the travel survey covers the transactions made when nights have been spent abroad. For day trips, the cross-border trade surveys the transactions.

The development is measured on the variables mentioned in the definitions.

In addition, two pilot surveys have been conducted for cross-border trade; one for 2008 and one for September 2019. The aim of the pilot surveys was to describe the types of goods Norwegians buy on day trips abroad. The survey from 2008 contained 6 product categories, but the one from 2019 contained 14.

The statistics for cross-border trade were established in 2004 to replace the central bank of Norway's currency statistics, which fell away from 2005.

The statistics are used by public authorities, trade organizations and international organizations like Eurostat and OECD. In addition, media is an important user. Internally, the national accounts are the main users.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Before this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar.

The data on cross border trade and the travel survey data give the total spending figures for Norwegian household spending abroad. These figures are used as input into Statistics Norway's balance of payments statistics.

The Statistics Act § 2-1 (voluntary)

"REGULATION (EU) No 692/2011 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 6 July 2011 concerning European statistics on tourism and repealing Council Directive 95/57/EC."

Statistics covers a sample of the Norwegian population in the age group 16 - 79 years, and their expenditures on same day trips abroad without accommodation, independent of the purpose of the trip.

Expressions such as Norwegians, us and ours and similar used in publications does not have anything to do with citizenships, but people resident in Norway.

The Population register in combination with telephone interview/CATI.

The travel survey is carried out among 2 000 Norwegians between 16 and 79 years of age. New sample is drawn every quarter.

Interview (telephone)/CATI once every quarter.

A computer is used during the interview. The interviewer reads the questions aloud from the screen and the answers are registered instantly. This allows the data to be controlled immediately, and it reduces the risk of asking the interviewee wrong questions.

The data is meant to represent the whole Norwegian population in the age group 16-79 years, not only the sample. To calculate totals, the data is grouped in four age groups (16-24 years, 25-44 years, 45-66 years and 67-79 years) and sex. Variables like number of tourists, number of trips, number of nights spent, and tourist expenditure is multiplied by a factor, which is define as the size of the population in the current strata divided by number of respondents in the same strata.

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The cross-border trade statistics were first published in October 2005 with figures from the first quarter of 2004 to the second quarter of 2005. Outdated time series can be found under «Closed time series” in the Statbank.

The number of cross-border trips and expenditure, by destination, was expanded in 2010 from three to six shopping destinations. The entire time series back to 2004 was updated and figures can be found at the six shopping destinations back to 2004.

The number of cross-border trips and expenditure, by region of residence, broke between 2019 and 2020 after the regional reform was introduced in 2020. Under the outdated time series, figures from before the reform can be found.

We can estimate the different phenomenon’s in a large group travel surveys by a representative sample of the entire population. This saves a lot of resources, both internally both also to the public. However, it does increase the uncertainty of data, compared to the case where the quarterly interviews are conducted on the entire population. In a sample survey, there quality of the data is determined by several factors, and we can not guarantee that all errors are discovered. The sources of errors may be attributed to two main factors.

  1. Errors linked to who we interview – including sampling errors, coverage errors and errors of non-response.
  2. Errors linked to what we ask in the interview – including measurement errors and processing errors.

The uncertainty linked to the errors in a) are possible to estimate and are published together with the quarterly analysis.

Sampling errors occur when the distribution of certain distinctions is different within the sample compared to the population. This error occurs due to randomness in the sampling and causes the sample to not be representative to the population. The sampling for the travel survey is conducted in a way such that there are no sampling errors related to the distribution of age, gender and location. After each quarterly sampling is conducted, tables are produced in to ensure that the risk of sampling errors are minimized.

Coverage errors occurs when the sample group of the survey does not define the population. In the travel survey, this may be due people who have died or moved abroad for more than six months. The sample left after these have been taken out, are called the gross sample.

Errors of non-respondents. There will always be persons who, by different reasons, will not participate in surveys. There might be people who does not want to participate, are inhibited due to language barriers, illness or travels, or people we do not get a hold of. There are therefore differences between the gross sample, and the persons who we get a hold of, the net sample. When characteristics in the gross and the net sample are not the same, the net sample will not be statistically representative of the population. We find that the largest differences between the gross and the net sample are related to level of education. Persons with a high degree of education tend to respond more often and are overrepresented in the net sample. Related to age, the age group between 25-44 years are underrepresented in the net sample.

Measurement errors are due to the design of the questionnaire, or that questions in the survey are misinterpreted. There is also a risk related to respondents not providing full answers, or wrong information during an interview. A classical example of measurement errors is when a person has been travelling, and states the travel expenditures for the entire family, and not for the person itself. If possible, the figures are corrected. Alternatively, they are deleted.

Processing error may occur during the interview when the interviewer gets a list of questions one at a time. The questions are filtered, based on the responses given. A major advantage to this, is that all filters are programmed in advance, and therefore the risk of the interviewer asking the wrong question to the wrong persons are less. However, if the programming is incorrect, this may lead to some responses that are incorrect. We have no indication when these errors occur.

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