Sweden - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors and Techniques

Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.

Last published date: 2021-09-14

Overview

Selling techniques are comparable to the practices in the U.S. Competitive factors such as price, quality, promptness of delivery, and availability of service determine the success of a supplier in Sweden.

Sales material should be in Swedish.

Swedish firms do not change suppliers readily and many commercial relationships have been built up and maintained over decades.

Trade Promotion and Advertising

Practically all newspaper companies and media houses have undergone a digital transformation. Major Swedish newspapers online (and in print) include:

  • Dagens Nyheter
  • Svenska Dagbladet
  • Dagens Industri
  • Goteborgsposten
  • Sydsvenskan

The largest trade fair venue in Sweden is the Svenska Massan (Swedish Exhibition and Congress Center) with 2 million visitors annually, followed by Stockholmsmassan (Stockholm International Fairs).  There are also two smaller trade fair venues called  Elmiamassan and Kistamassan

General Legislation

The European Union is establishing minimum and objective criteria regarding truth in advertising. Legislation on advertising practices can be found through the EU adopted Directive 2005/29/EC concerning fair business practices.  There are special regulations for advertising certain products in Sweden such as medicine, food, food supplements, and tobacco.

Pricing

Companies set prices individually. According to the Swedish Competition Act (which is in line with EU rules), companies are not allowed to practice price fixing.  All goods and services are subject to VAT, which ranges from six percent to 25 percent (25 percent being the norm), 12 percent for food or hotel charges, and six percent for products such as newspapers, books and magazines, and admission fees for commercial sporting events and for transportation within Sweden.  Products in Sweden are priced using the following formula: CIF price + import duty + excise tax + profit + VAT.

Sales Service/Customer Support

Swedish consumers expect high-quality products, with efficient after-sales service and customer support.

Conscious of discrepancies among EU Member States in product labeling, language use, legal guarantee and liability, the EU institutions have launched several initiatives aimed at harmonizing national legislation.  Suppliers within and outside the EU should be aware of existing and upcoming legislation affecting sales, service and customer support.

Product Liability

Under the 1985 Directive on the liability of defective products, amended in 1999, the producer is liable for damage caused by a defect in his product.  The victim must prove the existence of the defect and a causal link between defect and injury (bodily as well as material).  A reduction of liability of the manufacturer is granted in cases of negligence on the part of the victim. 

Product Safety

The 1992 General Product Safety Directive introduces a general safety requirement at the EU level to ensure that manufacturers only place safe products on the market.  It was revised in 2001 to include an obligation on the producer and distributor to notify the Commission in case of a problem with a given product, provisions for its recall, the creation of a European Product Safety Network, and a ban on exports of products to third countries that are not deemed safe in the EU.

Legal Warranties and After-sales Service

Under the 1999 Directive on the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees, professional sellers are required to provide a minimum two-year warranty on all consumer goods sold to consumers (natural persons acting for purposes outside their trade, businesses or professions), as defined by the Directive.  The remedies available to consumers in case of non-compliance are:

  • Repair of the good(s)
  • Replacement of the good(s)
  • A price reduction, or
  • Rescission of the sales contract

Local Professional Services

Contact the Commercial Service in Stockholm for guidance on local professional services providers.

Service providers focusing on EU law, consulting, and business development can be viewed on the website maintained by the Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union at Business Service Providers at http://export.gov/europeanunion/businessserviceproviders/index.asp Index.  

Principal Business Associations

American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden

Business Sweden

Domain registration

Association of Trade Partners Sweden

Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket)

Swedish Competition Authority

Swedish Franchise Association

Swedish Newspaper Publishers’ Association

Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel)