Spotlight on: Sweden 🇸🇪
Now we may be slightly bias as Sweden has a place close to our hearts, being the host country of Completely Retail Marketplace Nordics for the last five years. However, you are very quick to realise why it is such an attractive market for startups and tech innovators.
Business Sweden, Invest Stockholm, Business Region Göteborg & Invest in Skåne every year produce a retail guide to showcase what the country has to offer, the full guide can be found here. We’ve gone through and picked our key reasons why we feel businesses should consider the country in their expansion plans.
If you’re interested in exploring the market more and would like to meet with property professionals from across the Nordics then don’t forget to also register for the event taking place in Stockholm on 8th June 2022.
The Nordics – Outperforming Europe
Sweden was recently ranked as the world’s most reputable country and as a country it has become synonymous with openness and creativity. The Nordic nations (Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway) occupy the top four positions of the best European countries for business in 2020, according to EuCham. Sweden is the largest market in the Nordics and together the Nordic nations – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland, as well as their autonomous regions – make up the 12th largest economy in the world.
Sweden stands out and outperforms the rest of Europe in many key areas, such as in terms of economy innovation and competitiveness. Equally important, it is a nation of high-income earners who devote a large share of their spending on retail and food & beverages.
Swedes are also recognised as trendsetters who are innately curious about new international brands and products. Since their purchasing power is amongst the highest in Europe, they have ever-increasing means to satisfy that curiosity.
Brands currently present
The Swedish retail market is an increasingly attractive market for expansion for international retailers seeking growth and diversification. The Swedish marketplace has traditionally been dominated by domestic brands and by a small number of large chains, especially in the high-volume clothing, furniture and food retail segments. It has therefore remained relatively untapped by international retailers. Two examples of this are Swedish companies H&M, the second largest apparel retailer in the world, and IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer.
International companies are attracted to Sweden for numerous reasons. The country is a global leader in innovation with a highly skilled labour force, consumers eager to adopt new technologies, smooth business procedures and an openness to international ownership.
However, in recent years many international brands have entered the Swedish retail market and established a popular position among consumers. Popular international brands with several stores in Sweden include Zara, Lidl and Sephora. More recently, actors such as Uniqlo have opened and are laying the foundations for further expansion.
Several new businesses have gone to Sweden over the last few years. Examples include Afound, Arket, Barbour, Burton, Cartier, Ganni, JD Sports, Lululemon, Moncler, Muji, Oysho, Sandro, Sonos, Stone Island, Suitsupply, Under Armour, Uniqlo and Victoria’s Secret.
Sustainability as a driving force
Consumers are placing higher demands than ever on companies not only when it comes to minimising environmental impact, but also making a positive contribution. Although environmental consciousness is not a new phenomenon to Swedes – who have a long history of managing their landscape respectfully and with care – the issue has effectively been brought to the forefront in the wake of Greta Thunberg’s internationally recognised climate strike.
The Swedish debate around climate change tends to highlight individual action and responsibility. This has resulted in many consumers, not least young people, increasingly reflecting on their consumption and its environmental and social effects. However, this does not necessarily result in decreased consumption. In fact, Sweden has greater retail spending per capita than many other European countries. At the same time, the way consumers view ownership is beginning to shift. There is a growing interest in brands that offer recycling, repairs and second-hand products.
Discover more of what Sweden has to offer in their three major cities:
Next month we will be providing a spotlight on Sweden’s neighbouring country Finland.