With a per capita GDP of around 60 thousand dollar, and a population of more than 10 million, Sweden is the most important retail market in the Scandinavia region. However, a series of events like pandemic and the war in Ukraine has negatively impacted the growth trajectory of Sweden. Its consumer spending has slowed, despite a rebound in 2021.
The Swedish consumer goods sector is dominated by multinational companies, but Swedish retail chains, such as IKEA and H&M, hold strong positions in the furniture and clothing markets. The Swedish retail market is established and growth will be primarily driven by innovation and the desire for updated consumer electronics among tech-savvy Swedes. A growing focus on health will also drive growth in food products. Long-term demand for housing, household goods, healthcare, and leisure will be supported by societal trends such as the increase in single-person households. As the population ages, spending will shift from clothing to pharmaceuticals, health products, and high-end leisure activities.
The e-commerce is also very mature, supported by a 94.5% internet penetration and a generally mature infrastructure in area relevant to e-commerce such as logistics. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the pace of growth of online shopping and this will continue over the next few years.
According to the Riksbank, almost 60% of all consumer payments in Sweden are by card, with an increasing number of Swedes using card or mobile payments rather than cash, particularly among younger people. Sweden has adopted m-commerce payment systems early, and further growth of m-commerce is expected in 2021-2025, facilitated by the continued commercial rollout of 5G mobile telecom networks.
Incomes in Sweden are already high, which supports demand for high-quality and luxury retail brands. However, this also means that the growth in the number of wealthy households will be slow in local-currency terms. The retail market in Sweden is well-developed and consolidated, with a few large chains accounting for over half of the retail market, particularly in the food, clothing, and furniture sectors.
The Swedish retail food market is dominated by three primarily Nordic players – ICA, Axel Johnson, and KF Group. Axfood, owned by Axel Johnson, is particularly strong in the hard-discount segment through its Willys brand. KF Group is a consumer-owned co-operative chain. Although discount stores such as Lidl and Netto have been present in Sweden since the 2000s, sales have struggled in the past as consumers tend to prefer large grocery chains such as ICA, Coop, and Axfood. However, Lidl is seeking to increase its market share by expanding its range of organic and locally sourced foods, tapping into the preference of Swedish consumers for sustainable and healthy products from local producers.
The pandemic has accelerated the preference for sustainable goods, especially among the youth, and companies will need to develop new strategies and product lines to meet this growing demand. For example, H&M has acquired a majority stake in Shellpy, a second-hand e-commerce platform, to address the growing demand for sustainable fashion in Sweden.
Online retail accounts for almost 11% of total retail sales in 2022, which is lower than the UK and Germany but in line with the EU average. With more than 20 years of consecutive growth in the e-commerce market, Swedish retail growth has shifted significantly from traditional stores to online channels. Leading domestic and regional physical retailers have boosted their digital presence during the pandemic, including ICA Gruppen, NetOnNet, and Elgiganten, while leading pureplay online sellers include Komplett and Zalando. In 2020, Amazon also introduce Amazon.se, a platform that is specifically aimed at serving the Swedish market.
In Sweden, There are about 45% of people use credit cards, and 98.2% of people use debit cards. While there are 71.7% of people purchase on the internet, there is only 79.3% of people with online banking accounts.
% with financial accounts
% with credit cards
% with debit cards
% get paid through digital channels
% buy on the internet
% with internet banking
% pay bill through online
% E-Commerce Penetration
There is 7.60 million consumer goods e-commerce users in Sweden, and they spend total of around 14.99 billion USD dollars in 2021. That makes a per capita spending on consumer goods e-commerce of around 1971 USD. Also, in those e-commerce users, about 40.4% of them purchase through their mobile phone.