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.
A long-standing trade partnership
The UK and Sweden are long-standing trade and investment partners with total trade value in the year up until April 2019 at £20.9 billion (ONS, 2019).
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
Want to see more on Sweden? Sign up for additional market data, content specific to your product or sector and to compare Sweden side by side with other markets.
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 is improving its railways. It is building new railway lines, including a potential high speed railway line. These projects, and the need to maintain existing lines, present opportunities for UK businesses.
Maintenance of existing road network
International companies play a vital part in satisfying the demand of Sweden’s large-scale infrastructure investments. There are opportunities for UK businesses in construction. These include basic and long term re-investments in road maintenance for over 100 national operating areas, each area covering an average of 100 km of road.
New housing and supply chain opportunities
Sweden and its cities are expanding rapidly. Stockholm City alone currently needs to build 40,000 new homes, with an ambition of 80,000 new homes by 2025 (Stockholm stad, 2019). Swedish construction companies cannot satisfy the current demand, so Sweden is looking to make it as smooth a process as possible for foreign companies to enter its housing market.
Great test market
Sweden is a well-established test market for new products and concepts, with sophisticated consumers and an increased focus on sustainable products (Invest Stockholm, 2019).
Sweden is one of the most digitally connected countries in the world, with a mature e-commerce market. Online sales amount to 8.7% of total retail sales (Invest Stockholm, 2019).
Open to international brands
Sweden has seen an increase in new market entrants from international brands in recent years. These brands include JD Sports, Lyle & Scott, Superdry & Wagamama (Invest Stockholm, 2019).
Food and drink
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.
Technology and cyber security
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 2020-2030. 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.