The Oban Blog

The e-commerce landscape in Sweden: a youth driven market

Often depicted as economic paradises, Scandinavian countries have experienced a continuous e-commerce growth for the past 10 years. Northern Europe’s online sales achieved an astonishing €31 billion during 20131, a 7.1% increase from 2012. The average online expenditure per household within the region reached a total of €2,145 during the same year. This placed it far above Europe’s average of €1,400 and the EU average of €1,696, making these countries the highest online spenders in Europe, after the UK. Moreover, the e-commerce share of these countries reached 9.2% of the total European market in 2013, placing the region in fourth place within the continent. Impressive when you take into account the relatively small size of the population when compared to other European countries.

Out of all of the countries within the region Sweden exceeds as the perfect market for online trading. Boasting one of highest levels of internet usage in the world, with a penetration rate of 83% (2013)its potential can’t be underestimated. In this blog, we explore this country’s online consumption, highlighting some insights that could very well set your business for a successful entry into this market.

Internet consumption and demographics

Sweden stands as of one the most lucrative markets in Europe, with more than half of its population (approximately 10 million) online. During 2013, this country achieved online sales of €8.1 billion, second only to Denmark which achieved €8.3 billion during the same period and above countries with heavy online consumption such as Norway and Finland. A great share of this expenditure was spent by young demographic groups3 with 59% under 30 years old and 59% aged 30-454 years.

The main sources of online growth include:

Clothing and footwear increased 12% during the first quarter of 2013 compared to 2012

Sports and leisure increased 32% during the same period 

Other sectors like home furnishing and furniture saw an improvement in sales, increasing by 26% at the end of Q1 of 20135

Consumer electronics increased by 20% at the end of the same period 

Mobile and tablet consumption

Sweden is one of the highest mobile internet users in Western Europe, with more than half of its population owning a smartphone (2013)6. Second only to Norway, 57.9% of the Swedish population will use a mobile for accessing the internet by the end of 20147.  


(Source: E-Marketer, 2013)


(Source: E-Marketer, 2013)

Moreover, there is an impressive number of young people now owning mobile devices:

88% of children have a personal handset and the average age for owning a smartphone is 8.7 years old

More than one-third of children aged 9 to 11 owns a tablet

15% of 4 year olds and 24% of 5 year olds already own tablet devices8 

Predictions estimate that within four years, almost three-quarters of all Swedish residents will use a smartphone, with children being a significant share of that group.

Social network usage 

Facebook is the most popular platform with approximately 5 million users (55% of the country’s total population9), followed by LinkedIn (0.7 million) and Twitter (0.3 million users). A great share of users on social networks belong to the 16-25 age group; with 95% within that demographic now active on social network platforms10

It comes as no surprise that Facebook is the most popular platform for branded content in Sweden. According to a recent report by Novus, 84% of advertisers have used this platform for distributing content11. An impressive number when compared to the use of other platforms for content marketing: 

      Youtube used by 71% of digital marketers

      Twitter by 44%

      Instagram by 34%

      LinkedIn by 32%


(Source: E-Marketer, 2013)

Despite the majority of Swedish advertisers using some form of content marketing, 23% reportedly didn’t know much about it12


Statistics indicate Sweden is a burgeoning online market with a particularly young audience waiting to be reached. Its steady online growth and high mobile penetration rate, makes this country extremely favourable. Remember…

When advertising, be particularly careful targeting young audiences with appropriate, high quality content. Already a burgeoning group, young people are the drivers of Sweden’s online e-commerce

Optimise your company’s social media channels, especially Facebook. With approximately 55% of the population using this platform, it could be the best medium to share content. This is particularly relevant as other social network channels have a relatively small number of users in comparison. Even more important if we consider that 95% of young people are using this platform

Sweden is one of the biggest mobile and tablet markets in Europe. Your company’s site must be optimised in terms of SEO and PPC for mobile and tablet devices

A high percentage of young people in Sweden own a mobile or tablet device. Maximise online marketing campaigns through personalised ads, aimed at mobile and tablet devices


1. E-commerce Europe: Northern European e-commerce is expected to reach 31 billion in 2013
2. E-Marketer: Sweden: Kids Have Wide Access to Smartphone and Tablets
3. Statista: Online Buyer Penetration in Sweden by Age Group
4. Statista: Online Buyer Penetration in Sweden by Age Group
5. E-commerce Europe: Sweden Record Growth for Online Retail e-Commercen in Q1 2013
6. E-Marketer: Sweden Kids Have Wide Access to Smartphones and Tablets
7. Emarketer: Nearly Half of Western Europeans Will Use Mobile Web This Year
8. E-Marketer: Sweden: Kids Have Wide Access to Smartphones and Tablets
9. Business Culture: Northern Europe: Sweden Social Media Guide
10. Business Culture: Northern Europe: Sweden Social Media Guide
11. Beantin: Swedish Internet Use
12. E-Marketer: Sweden’s Advertisers Warm Content Marketing