Sweden - Country Commercial Guide

Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and, reputable, prominent B2B websites.


Last published date: 2020-10-10

Assessment of Current Buyer Behavior in Market

Sweden is one of the most connected societies in the world and consumers have achieved a high level of maturity when it comes to eCommerce.  Consumers in Sweden are technology savvy and qualified spenders, and at the very top of eCommerce usage in Europe and globally.

One annual survey by Nordic based payment service provider Nets disclosed that eCommerce in Sweden reached roughly $32.8 bn (SEK 310 bn) in 2019, an increase of 16 percent compared to the prior year. Forty-seven percent was spent on travel, 37 percent on goods and 16 percent on services. Of the 38 percent of Swedish consumers that buy from non-Swedish websites, there has been a six percent decrease in buying from the U.S. A weak Swedish krona, uncertainty regarding terms and time of delivery as well as the total price once the product arrives in Sweden all play a role in the decrease (see below regarding implementation of an administrative fee).

Another annual survey by Swedish logistics provider PostNord stated that the goods most Swedes purchase from foreign websites include fashion, books and media products. After invoicing, the most popular payment methods Swedes use are debit/credit cards, Swish (Swedish mobile real time payment application), direct bank payment and solutions such as PayPal.

Most surveys show that the majority of Swedish shoppers use their mobile phones when researching websites, underscoring the importance of mobile solutions for web shops.

Local eCommerce Sales Rules & Regulations

U.S. companies with an online presence offering/selling goods and services to Sweden, must comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This EU data privacy law went into effect May 25, 2018 and addresses the storage and use of personal information and data about EU citizens and residents purchasing from (non-EU) U.S. websites. More information can be found here.

There are a few issues that U.S. companies can face when selling to Sweden:

B2B: Swedish importers are legally responsible for the products they import to Sweden and will therefore only be interested in importing products that fulfill EU and Swedish regulations and requirements.

B2C: Swedish consumers are obliged to pay Swedish VAT (usually 25%), which is not included in on-line purchases from outside the EU. There is no de minimis amount for such purchases. Hence, as of March 1, 2018 an administrative fee has been implemented and is charged by the forwarding agent for the processing of VAT upon receipt of the package. The fee amount is $8-13 (SEK 75-125)/non-EU package, depending on the value of the goods, in addition to the product’s VAT. While this fee does not prevent eCommerce from the U.S, it will likely decrease demand of smaller ticket items. Goods valued above $180 (SEK 1,700) can also be subject to duties. The added administrative step increases delivery times, a factor which is of high importance to the Swedish eConsumer.

Local eCommerce Business Service Provider Ecosystem

The Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel) is an employer’s association that pursues issues and advise on legal matters regarding eCommerce. The organization offers educational trainings within Swedish law concerning eCommerce and their mission is to strengthen trade competitiveness.

Sweden’s largest logistics providers include PostNord, DHL, DB Schenker and FedEx. There are several firms offering digital marketing and last mile services. Contact office.stockholm@trade.gov for assistance.

Trade Events (may be impacted by COVID19)

D-Congress, March 11, 2021

D-Congress - The largest e-Commerce event in Sweden is arranged by Swedish Digital Trade (Svensk Digital Handel) at Svenska Massan in Gothenburg.