Selling to Sweden
Many Americans think of Sweden as either being Scandinavian or European. It may come as a surprise to us that a noted political scientist calls Sweden "... the most Americanized country in the world, with the possible exception of the United States". The legendary Swedish emigration to America is part of the cultural fabric of Sweden, and few Swedes can claim that they have no relatives in the United States. Almost every Swede is fluent in English and our cultures have much in common. Why not sell your product/service to Sweden and join the hundreds of companies and brands already doing business in this part of the world?
Trade moves back and forth seamlessly across the Atlantic from both coasts of Sweden, by air, sea, and with the completion of the bridge to Denmark, by road and rail to the continent of Europe. The United States is one of Sweden's top suppliers, currently ranked fourth behind Germany, and for the Swedes, we are their second-most popular export destination, right behind Germany.
How large is the market? Sweden itself numbers almost 9 million inhabitants, but if one includes its Nordic neighbors, and the nearby Baltic Sea states, then the Baltic Sea region represents some 100 million consumers. Sweden'scentral location makes it attractive as a base for call centers and distribution centers as well as direct marketing activities. Of course, standards of living must be considered, and this region ranks among the top in the world.
Sweden is known as a country of early adoptors, not only for products but for trends from around the globe, and especially the States. Companies in a broad range of industries have realized the benefits of using Sweden to try out new products and services before launching them on a larger scale. Foreign Policy ranked Sweden as one of the top three most globalized countries in the world, using examples such as Ford and GM owning Volvo and SAAB, Ericsson and its worldwide presence, IKEA, and the recently concluded EU Presidency. Beginning with the days of the Vikings, the importance of trade is firmly engrained in the country.
Sweden's commitment to exploiting new technology is clearly demonstrated by the level of investment in research and development; relative to GDP, Sweden leads the world. This translates into Sweden being a center for collaboration, research labs, and innovation. But this investment is not all physical hardware; Sweden has a tremendous pool of technical talent, and by virtue of its excellent educational system, offers U.S. companies great opportunities for international networking and collaboration. And its not just investment in R&D ; Sweden ranks as one of the top recipients of foreign direct investment, much of it technology-based, as companies expand their operations and acquire Swedish assets.
One cannot read an article about Sweden today without seeing labels such as Wireless Valley or Silicon Valhalla ; Sweden has been called the most wired and wireless nation on earth; almost 70 per cent of Swedish households have an advanced PC, more than 50 percent of all Swedes use the Internet, and more than half of the population has a mobile phone. 3G wireless technology will be rolled out in 2002. Join the growing numbers of U.S. participants in this exciting marketplace.
While Sweden has not been immune from the downturn in the New Economy, its traditional industries and strengths in metalworking, forest products, and machinery represent good marketing opportunities, as does the emerging growth sector of biotechnology. No, we're not talking GMOs, but rather biotechnology as it relates to human health and medicine. We are witnessing some real synergies between IT and Biotech, and a number of industry/research clusters have developed around Sweden that have an international reputation. We are constantly asked "Where are the U.S companies?"
Consider the Nordic region for your next marketing push. Need a test market? Open a call center? Establish distribution for the Baltic Sea Region? Want to take advantage of consumer preferences for U.S. culture and technology? Sweden awaits you.