Find a diversified market in Sweden, reports Country Profile
Blue with a golden yellow cross extending to the edges of the flag, the colors reflect those of the Swedish coat of arms: three gold crowns on a blue field.
Location: In northern Europe, between Finland and Norway and bordering the Baltic Sea, Sweden is slightly larger than California.
Language: Swedish (Finnish, Sami, Romani, Yiddish and Meankieli are official minority languages). English is widely spoken.
Total Population: 10.1 million
Government: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Religion: Church of Sweden (Lutheran, 60.2%)
Economy: Sweden has the largest Nordic economy—GDP grew an estimated 3.3 percent in 2016 and 2017—and boasts a transparent, developed and diversified market with few barriers to entry. The country remains outside the euro zone largely out of concern that joining the European Economic and Monetary Union would diminish the country’s sovereignty over its welfare system. Sweden’s open market means it’s also highly competitive, and U.S. companies must be aggressive with pricing and terms in order to succeed. Providing affordable housing and successfully integrating migrants into the labor market—the country has seen an influx of people seeking asylum from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, among others, since 2015—present economic challenges.
Cultural notes: Avoid the hype. The Swedish cultural philosophy of jantelagen still eschews overt self-promotion and achievement as inappropriate, so adjust marketing strategies accordingly. During business discussions, express commitment to the market with a long-term perspective; plan in-person visits, as Nordic partners want first-hand assurance of a partner’s reliability.
GDP (official exchange rate): $535.6 billion
Currency: Swedish krona (conversion rate at press time: 1 SEK equals $0.11 USD).
Franchising in Sweden: While interest in franchising continues to grow, the majority of Sweden’s 800 franchise companies are of Swedish origin. Major U.S. fast food brands such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC have a presence, along with the likes of Re/Max and 7-Eleven. The retail, hotel, restaurant and service industries present opportunities for American brands, though the Swedish Franchise Association notes the market is competitive. There is no specific comprehensive franchise legislation in Sweden, but under the Swedish Franchise Disclosure Act, a franchisor must provide a prospective franchisee with certain information before a franchise contract is entered into. The legislation covers all franchise contracts in Sweden.
Ease of doing business rank by World Bank: 10 for 2019, up from 12 in 2018.