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Awakening of Consumer Awareness

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Awakening of Consumer Awareness

Icelandic money

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The recent opening of wholesale giant Costco’s first store in Iceland has not been missed by anyone. Nearly a fifth of Iceland’s population now belongs to the Facebook group “Bought at Costco - Pictures and Prices”, where people share pictures and make price comparisons, Vísir reports.

The smartphone app Neytandinn (‘the Consumer’), where people share pictures of receipts in order to build a database for consumer price comparisons, has seen a rise in popularity and is now the most popular app in Iceland, both on iPhone and Android. The app has already existed for two years but never before enjoyed such popularity.

“We have about 16,000 users in total from the beginning, 3,500 of whom have registered in the past four days”, Hugi Þórðarson, the app’s creator, stated.

Asked if the app’s rise in popularity is connected with Costco’s arrival to the country, Hugi responded. “Yes, it’s undeniably likely that there is a link. We’re experiencing a major wave of users. We’re currently seeing over 10,000 daily visitors viewing and comparing prices. We haven’t seen such a large wave [of new users] previously.”

Hugi points out that it would be easiest if pricing information were to come in digital format directly from retailers. “We’ve brought this to stores’ attention a number of times but the response we received was rather reluctant. But now, in light of the fact that Icelanders are becoming very active consumers, perhaps there is an opportunity there for Icelandic stores to distribute receipts to customers electronically.”

Referring to the trend of increased consumer price comparisons, Hugi considers this a step in the right direction. “This way of thinking hasn’t been strong in us Icelanders thus far, but I hope that this has awakened something which is here to stay,” he says.

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