Exporting guide to Sweden
Open and transparent
Sweden’s approach to international business is modern, open and friendly. Businesses welcome international partnerships, and there is a skilled, well-educated workforce. This makes Sweden an easy country to operate in. The corporate tax rate is low by international standards.
Sweden’s sophisticated consumer market has proven popular with international brands who want to try a new product (Business Sweden, 2019).
Sweden: at a glance
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Opportunities for exporters
There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Sweden have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:
Sweden aims to further modernise its railway network and increase capacity by building new passenger lines between its biggest cities. It will also digitalise the network to make operations and maintenance more efficient. There are opportunities in many areas of the rail supply chain.
Housing and construction
Sweden’s cities are expanding and so is the need for new housing. The Stockholm region alone has planned housing investment worth EUR 61 billion until 2040 (source: Invest Stockholm). Swedish construction companies cannot satisfy the demand, which offers great long-term opportunities for companies looking to enter the market.
Smart cities, green construction and mobility
Like many places, Sweden is seeking to de-carbonise construction and its transportation systems, shifting from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to suitable alternatives. Ownership of electric vehicles is growing. Use of micro-mobility is widespread, such as e-scooters. Non-battery electric options are being researched and trialled, such as electric roads.
Well established test-bed market
Sweden is a well-established test market for new products and concepts with trend-sensitive consumers and early adopters. It is also a frontrunner in adopting new technologies and a world leader in sustainability. (Invest Stockholm 2021)
Sweden has one of the highest rates of online shopping in the world. Growing e-commerce is creating an increasing interest in international brands amongst Swedish consumers. E-commerce in Sweden increased by 40% in 2020. (Invest Stockholm 2021)
Open to international brands
There is a strong appetite for new international retail brands. Sweden has seen an increase in new market entrants from international brands in recent years. These brands include Barbour, JD Sports, Lyle & Scott, Superdry and Wagamama (Invest Stockholm 2019, 2021).
Demand for new food and drink categories
There are opportunities for UK producers of health, organic, natural, vegetarian and plant-based food and craft alcoholic drinks. There is also demand for innovative and niche products with strong branding, and private label products.
If you have a product with a strong, unique selling point, sophisticated packaging and a clear marketing strategy, there is a good chance you will find a receptive consumer market in Sweden.
Decommissioning nuclear plants
Sweden recognises the UK’s experience and expertise in plant decommissioning. UK businesses are ideally placed to support Sweden’s future decommissioning and waste management challenges.
Sweden is expected to double its renewable power capacity by 2030 as new wind projects come online. There are opportunities for UK companies with expertise in this field or manufacturing products to export.
Energy storage and transmission grid solutions
Sweden is switching to carbon neutral energy sources. Energy storage and grid solutions are needed as a part of this switch to renewable energy sources. There are opportunities for UK companies with expertise in renewable energy or manufacturing products to export.
There is a need to develop cyber security in Sweden, with a demand for innovative solutions for threat detection and mitigation. Sweden is also in the process of establishing a National Cyber Security Centre (estimated to be in full effect by 2025).
International investments in data centres
Over the last decade, Sweden's northern municipalities have proven to be a fertile breeding ground for the establishment of data centre facilities. Further south, in the Stockholm region, Amazon Web Services has opened 3 cloud computing hubs, while Microsoft and Google have acquired several hundreds of hectares of land.
Information and communications technology
The deployment of 5G is expected to happen gradually over the period 2020 to 2030. This could mean interesting business opportunities in areas such as cloud capability and EDGE technology, which will need to be increased to drive the 5G development.
Easy to find a business partner
Sweden is second in the world in R&D per capita. There are over 3,000 companies involved in life science activities in Sweden and many innovative companies to team up with.
Sweden has expressed an ambition to be the leader in e-health by 2025, and has a dedicated governmental agency. There is growing demand for digital health solutions to meet the demands from an ageing population and even the gap between rural and urban access to health services (Swedish Government Offices).
Science parks, networks and support
There is a wide range of science parks and networks that work to commercialise life science innovations. There are networks in place to support start-ups, SMEs and large enterprises with their work, such as SwedenBIO, a non-profit association for the life science industry with 300 plus members (Invest Stockholm 2021).