The Oban Blog

E‑commerce opportunities in Sweden – celebrating the local way

Internet user penetration in Sweden is one of the highest in the world, with a staggering 83.1% of the population expecting to go online in 2015.  E-commerce is an accepted feature of everyday life for many Swedes, making it an attractive market for international e-commerce businesses. We take a look at cross-border shopping and the influence of local events and traditions on e-commerce purchases.

Sweden has seen good growth in retail e-commerce sales over the past few years and 2014 was no exception. According to a February report, digital buyers in Sweden spent a total of $6.25 billion on online purchases of retail goods in 2014, representing 16% growth from 2013 (eMarketer).

Cross-border digital purchases

One-third of digital buyers from Sweden made a cross-border digital purchase in 2013, according to January data from PostNord, Svensk Digital Handel and HUI Research. The top three product categories purchased from foreign web stores by male cross-border digital buyers in Sweden were:

  • Consumer electronics (23%)
  • Clothing (20%)
  • Computers and peripherals (15%)

Female digital buyers in Sweden, on the other hand,were most likely to buy:

  • Clothing (30%)
  • Cosmetics (17%)
  • Books (14%)

When it comes to purchasing from foreign websites, 42% of cross-border purchases were from UK sites, with 29% cited from US stores.

According to eMarketer, one reason foreign web stores have been successful in Sweden during the past few years is that many have adapted their sites for consumers in Sweden. In fact, some companies have localised their sites so well that their customers do not realise that they are making a cross-border purchase.

One example of this is German e-commerce player, Zalando. In a Post-Nord survey, 7% of Swedish respondents reported they had not made a cross-border digital purchase, yet they also stated they had bought from Zalando. Evidently, Swedish consumers believed Zalando was a domestic merchant due partly to:

  • Creating a separate domain for Sweden,
  • Translated and localised its site fully to Swedish tastes,
  • Provide local contact information – giving the impression that it is a Swedish-based company.


Discover traditions and celebrations that are meaningful to your international customers. Using local holidays will help you to connect with your customers.


Midsummer is an occasion of large gatherings – with many Swedes taking advantage of it to fulfil their social obligations so that they can enjoy the rest of their holiday in peace. In many cases, whole families gather to celebrate this traditional high-point of the summer.

Midsummer Eve is celebrated on a Friday between 19 and 25 June, often celebrated with a traditional dish of herring and boiled new potatoes; with many people going out dancing after the meal is finished.

Travel companies are extremely busy during Midsummer in Sweden. In order to connect with customers, travel brands should be offering online discount sales for the Midsummer period.

Be aware, Midsummer online sales often start one or two weeks before the date, ensure you are not the last to present offers to potential customers.

In the run-up to the Midsummer period, online fashion retailers should make use of push notifications alerting customers to special offers and new stock specific to Midsummer.

Ensure your keywords in the run-up to Midsummer include “free shipping” and “special offers”.

During the Midsummer holiday period, both travel and retail brands should engage with their customers through email campaigns – instilling their localised message.

Sources: eMarketer,