Sweden

MARKET: Sweden is a highly developed country with a strong knowledge-based service sector that accounts for approximately 80% employment of the Swedish workforce. Sweden is one of the world-leading nations in research, in areas such as biotechnology, medical innovations, microelectronics, and also has internationally leading companies and technology in areas like ICT (Information Technology & Communication) and green technology like waste management and renewable energy.

Sweden has been the first export market for countless Finnish companies, with good reason. With its population of approximately 10.4 million people, the Swedish market is almost twice as big as Finland’s. Sweden is close, both geographically and culturally. Neighbouring countries usually have close trade relations. Sweden is Finland’s second largest second largest export market after Germany. Finland is also one of Sweden’s most important sources of direct foreign investment.

From the invention of the thermometer to the founding of startup unicorns like Skype, Sweden is one of the most innovative countries in the world. Stockholm is also building a global reputation as a tech hub of entrepreneurial activity, with almost one-fifth of the entire workforce working in tech, the highest compared to any other city in Europe.

The ongoing ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ of connected machines, reconfigurable systems, advanced robotics and seamless information flows, creates many diverse opportunities. Through a recently launched ‘Smart Industry’ strategy, Sweden is aiming to strengthen its capacity and competitiveness in a rapidly changing environment for digital technologies in manufacturing and production. Solutions that can add to this strategy are in demand.

As new technologies revolutionise vehicles and how they are manufactured, more manufacturers are taking advantage of the benefits of localising production in Sweden, where highly skilled expertise in mobile communications systems, connectivity and automation is readily available. With a target of having a zero-carbon vehicle fleet by 2030, Sweden offers interesting opportunities for green vehicle development.

Sweden has actively invested in creating a robust smart city ecosystem, resulting in products and solutions such as electric and biogas buses, district heating, fibre cables, smart grids and energy efficient buildings. Companies that can help to facilitate smart city developments are very much on trend.

 

LANGUAGE: English is the most widely spoken foreign language, just like in Finland, and international business is widely conducted efficiently and easily using English. But you should still consider language requirements early. To reach Swedish customers (even in B2B sectors), you may need Swedish versions of your website, marketing materials, instruction manuals, etc. Language may also be an issue in support services, training and day-to-day customer contacts.

 

PEOPLE: Almost 90% of the population lives in southern Sweden. The Swedes enjoy an advanced welfare system, often called support ‘from the cradle to the grave’. Based on egalitarian principles, fairness and social equality. Behaviours in Sweden are strongly balanced towards ‘lagom’ or, ‘everything in moderation’. Excess, flashiness and boasting are abhorred in Sweden and individuals strive towards the middle way.

Seppo Hoffrén Consultancy currently has two consultants covering the Swedish market, alongside the two other Scandinavian markets. We would like to encourage you to use our services to test the market and look for opportunities in Sweden. If you have a product or service with an identifiable and marketable advantage, and if you combine it with patience and commitment, you may be able to add your name to the long list of companies that are already trading in Sweden

 

Top 10 import partners of Sweden, by import value (million SEK):

Source: Statista (October 2021)

Richard Whale

Business Consultant
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Marko Arola

Business Consultant
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