Sweden: A market waiting for British brands
Georges Berzgal, VP & Managing Director, Global Ecommerce – EMEA, Pitney Bowes
With well-connected transport routes, 94% of the population connected to the internet and almost all of them active online shoppers, Sweden offers huge opportunities for British retailers looking to expand into Scandinavia.
Swedes are well known for their love of the outdoors, good coffee and a penchant for punctuality. As a population, they are also highly literate in English, with a whopping 86% being literate in our language. This is great news for British retailers looking to sell their products cross-border online.
The Swedes are also experienced and hungry online shoppers, with an incredible 9.2m of the 9.9m population actively shopping for retail goods online. What’s more, the entirety of the 16-24 year old demographic uses the internet on a daily basis, joined by 55% of those aged 55 years and over. It’s clear that all age groups have embraced the online community.
In 2017 alone, Swedish B2C ecommerce turnover grew by 17% to £12.89bn and the average spend per shopper was £1,475. This is down to the fact that Sweden is one of the most digitally connected and affluent countries in the world. Not only do 94% of the population have access to the internet, but the vast distances between communities in the country have also proven a success story for ecommerce. In 2016, Sweden was also ranked third in the World Bank Logistics list, making it among the easiest countries in the world to deliver to, with 86% of the population residing in urban areas.
With a highly connected and multilingual consumer base, local e-retailers in Sweden will quickly need to get used to competition from abroad. It has been rumoured that Amazon will soon launch in Sweden and it appears that the question is no longer ‘if’ but ‘when’. The U.S., U.K. and German dedicated Amazon sites all perform well in the Swedish market, making it an obvious choice for Amazon to set up shop in the region. During 2016, Amazon.com was visited almost 32.7m times, making it one of the most visited ecommerce sites; local brands Netonnet.se (18.4 m) and Ikea.com (18.1 m) followed in its wake. While Amazon is a global brand, British retailer, Asos.com, is among the country’s top ten most visited sites, experiencing over 4.5m visitors in the first six months of 2016.
If this is not encouragement enough, 3 in 10 of all products sold online in Sweden are being purchased from abroad. The Swedish postal service, PostNord, also recently release a survey focusing on the popularity of different international ecommerce vendors to the region. The research found that the U.K. ranked in equal first place with China, due to its wide variety of retail brands on offer. This really is the time for UK brands to trade online in Sweden, as there is a growing appetite for British brands that are easily and affordably available to consumers.
The Swedish ecommerce market is a mature, with sophisticated and expectant shoppers. A key trend developing currently is the ambition from retailers to make the shopping experience more personalised. British retailers have much to offer this market in terms of executing an omni-channel, personalised service. Widespread access to technology, a robust logistics network and a multilingual population make Sweden an ideal market for British brands. With nearly the entire nation being active online consumers, brands that are considering trading their goods cross-border should keep Sweden at front of mind for their next venture overseas.
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