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Open invoice is a key payment method in Sweden. This process involves a third-party providing the merchant with a facility by which they can receive the money quickly, often at point of purchase. The service provider then provides a credit facility to the consumer. Sometimes this might involve paying in full once the product has arrived, or a variable period over which the credit can be paid out. There is a cost to the customer for this service but it provides them with the confidence that if something is wrong, then they haven’t paid for the product. The third-party also takes the credit and fraud risk, at a cost to the retailer but, unlike with cards, there is no chargeback risk. This is certainly a service worth consideration by international merchants.[1]

Domestic and Preferred Card Schemes

Swedish online customers like to pay by credit card, with MasterCard and Visa being their most used cards. Online bank transfers are also popular as they are used by three in ten online customers. Almost the same amount of people prefer to pay per invoice cards. [2]

Alternative Payment Methods

Bank transfer is a popular method in Sweden. This service sees the consumer making a ‘push’ payment from their bank account to that of the merchant. Again, this provides consumers with additional confidence as they feel more in control of the transaction. As there are a large banks in Sweden, it is worth using a partner that can aggregate these services as part of the checkout process.[3]

Other Payment Methods


Digital Invoicing


Customer Experience

Reinforcing concerns around simple payment methods, the following graphic highlights payment method availability as the biggest concern by respondents to a DIBS survey.[4]

Payments Regulation


Local entities


Mobile payments



Although made up of four separate and distinct countries , there are sufficient similarities to treat Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as a collective e-retail market from a logistics perspective. The Nordics present some interesting logistics issues for retailers wishing to reach all of its consumers with a total population of approximately 26 million spread over an area of 120,000 sq km, including hundreds of islands. However most of the population is concentrated in the south and in coastal areas.

Copenhagen Airport is the largest airport for passenger, cargo and express companies in the Nordics. The airport also acts as a major cargo hub for global logistics providers such as DHL, Fedex, Kuehne & Nagel and PostNord.[5]



Direct Link is a fully-owned subsidiary of PostNord, the merged Swedish and Danish post offices, offering a gateway to the Nordics through customised B2C delivery and distribution solutions. It can reach 100% of addresses in all four Nordic countries and o ers a choice of options with light goods directly to the customer’s mailbox, a collection point or home delivery with a ‘leave in safe place’ option.

Direct Link operates facilities in the UK, Germany, US, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia providing services with the following transit times (subject to point of origin):

• Merchandise Mail – untracked items up to 2 kilos – 3 to 5-day delivery

• Merchandise Mail Plus – fully tracked up to 30 kilos – 3 to 5-day delivery

• MyPack – fully tracked with SMS & email noti cation – 2 to 6-day delivery for items between 0-20 kilos with insurance and integrated returns

• Merchandise Mail Returns – packages up to 2 kilos

In addition to using the local postal service provider as the nal delivery agent, retailers will be able to access services through their own domestic postal providers.

Global carriers

There are a number of global carriers able to provide collection, distribution and delivery into the Nordics (using their own operations or local partners). The main ones are:

UPS - Offers a range of services and delivery times to the Nordics subject to country of origin and the specific destination

• UPS Express Plus – 1 to 2 business days delivery by 09:00

• UPS Express – 1 to 2 business days delivery by 12:00 noon

The example service times above are from the UK.

• UPS Express Saver – 1 to 2 business days delivery by end of day

• UPS Standard – 3 to 5 business days delivery during the day

Fed Ex – Offers two main services to the Nordics with delivery times subject to country of origin and the specific destination:

• International Priority – 1 to 3 business days

• International Economy – 2 to 5 days

DHL – Offers one main service option, namely – Export Express Worldwide – guaranteed delivery by the end of the next possible working day. As an example, from the UK to the Nordics this will typically be the next working day subject to the exact delivery address.

TNT – Offers a range of international services to the Nordics starting from next day by 09:00 subject to country of origin and the specific destination. As an example, from the UK:

• 09:00 Express – Denmark

• 10:00 Express – Denmark and Sweden

• 12:00 Express – Norway and Sweden

• Express – Next day – all countries

• TNT does not offer its lower cost day-defined Economy Express service from the UK to the Nordics

DPD – DPD is particularly of note in the Nordic market because PostNord (the postal service provider for Sweden and Denmark) is a strategic partner and its delivery partner in all four countries. It offers a range of service options to the Nordics with the examples below showing transit times from the UK in business days:

In respect of e-retail deliveries perhaps the two most interesting services are:

• DPD Classic which includes DPD Predict, a pre- delivery advice notification which is a service feature generally welcomed by online shoppers

• DPD Direct which is DPD’s own branded direct access solution (see section – Direct access) offering lower cost consignment + kilo rate pricing, customs clearance, tracking and a returns service for unwanted items.[6]


PostNord was formed as a merger between Post Danmark (Denmark) and Posten AB (Swedish Post) and now provides domestic ecommerce delivery services.

• Standard – a next-day collection service where the customer is noti ed by SMS or letter that the parcel is available for collection

• Home Parcel / Hempaket – a tracked, home delivery service where the customer is contacted the next working day a er despatch to nominate a delivery day and 2 to 3-hour timeslot. A 17:00 – 21:00 evening option is also available in some areas.

• Express Parcel – a next-day delivery service by 10:00 with a collection option available[7]

Import Duties

The delivery operator selected will be able to provide full details and advice on the necessary documentation and processes and some can go further by pre-clearing orders while the goods are in-transit or at the start of their journey using a consumer duty paid process. This can be done using the HTS code assigned to each product category and can reduce delivery times and remove a potential barrier of having the goods held when they arrive in country. Retailers are therefore advised to specifically ask what their chosen delivery partner can do to facilitate customs clearance and duty calculation / collection.[8]



Fyndiq AB is a Swedish fast-growing ecommerce company that, since its inception in 2010, established links with over 1,500 traders who together sell over 500,000 products in categories such as fashion, baby, beauty & health, electronics, sports & leisure, entertainment, mobile & tablet PCs, home etc.[9]


The Swedish CDON Marketplace has over 2 million active users and sells products from other merchants as well as its own inventory.[10]


Tradera (eBay) Tradera.com is one of the leading online commerce services in Sweden, with over 2.5 million members and stores, 1.3 million visitors per week and over one million listings. Although Tradera welcomes members from all over the world, most are Swedish.[11]


Email is still the consumer’s daily first digital point of contact, followed by news and Facebook.[12]


Almost three in four Swedish households with access to the internet have ordered something online in the last twelve months. Almost three in ten Swedes order something online at least once a month. Although ecommerce is widely distributed troughout the country, the most active ecommerce customers can be found in inland municipalities in the north of Sweden. [13]

The most frequent online shoppers are 45-59 years old.[14]

Shopper Behavior

Sweden has seen good growth in retail ecommerce sales over the past few years, and 2014 was no exception. According to a February report from PostNord, Svensk Digital Handel and HUI Research, digital buyers in Sweden spent a total of SEK42.9 billion ($6.25 billion) on online purchases of retail goods last year, representing 16% growth from 2013. As such, digital accounted for 6.4% of total retail sales in the country in 2014. While internet users in Sweden still tended to prefer domestic ecommerce sites when it came to buying on the web, one-third of digital buyers told PostNord that they had made an online purchase of a retail good from a foreign merchant in 2014. In all, cross-border sales represented more than one-quarter (26.8%) of last year’s total retail ecommerce sales, or SEK11.51 billion ($1.68 billion). As in 2013, consumer electronics was the single-largest sector in terms of retail ecommerce sales in Sweden last year. PostNord found that digital sales for that industry reached SEK10.3 billion ($1.50 billion) in 2014, up 17% over the previous year. The strongest growth, however, was seen in digital sales of children’s items/toys at 38%, followed by construction at 33%. Nevertheless, these two categories accounted for just SEK1 billion ($145.7 million) and SEK2 billion ($291.5 million) of total retail ecommerce sales in Sweden in 2014.eMarketer expects retail ecommerce sales in Sweden to grow by 11.7% in 2015 and reach $9.71 billion, representing 3.8% of total retail sales in the country. [15]

Social Media

Nearly a quarter of merchants are seeing positive ROI from their social media spend, with Facebook by far the most popular. YouTube has a place however as do Twitter and Snapchat. 42% of Swedish respondents are using Instagram daily. Sweden has the second-highest penetration of teen snapchat users, behind Ireland. This doesn’t suggest that there are more users in this demographic than in the US, merely that a higher proportion of ‘mobile’ teens use the app.[16]

Major shopping categories

Fashion is the most popular online retail sector in Sweden, followed by media and home electronics. Travel is by-far the most popular vertical for purchases via a mobile device while apparel and electronics are showing signs of expansion. The key brands to watch, especially in the international space, are Amazon, CDon, eBay, HM.com and Zalando. CDon and Komple are particularly interesting brands worth investigating further.[17]

Major retail holidays


Legal / Regulatory

All organisations that are responsible for processing personal data (data controllers) have to comply with eight data protection principles set out in the PDA. The Personal Data Act applies to those controllers who are established in Sweden. As a main rule, Swedish law is also applicable when a controller from a third country (i.e. a country outside the EU and EEA) uses equipment, for example terminals and questionnaires, situated in Sweden for the processing of personal data. In such cases, the controller must appoint for himself an agent who is established in Sweden. The agent is equated with a controller when applying the Personal Data Act.

The European General Data Protection Regulation when enacted will impose more onerous obligations on organisations that process personal data.

The Consumer Purchase Act applies to distance selling contracts, imposing a number of requirements on traders, and in some areas these requirements diverge signi cantly from the previously applicable regulations.

Distance selling marketers must make clear the location and identity of the marketer, include information on: price (including tax and delivery costs), delivery times, communication charges at higher than standard rates, limitations on the other etc., provide written information on cancellation rights, return conditions, guarantees/a er-sales services, complaints procedures, refund money promptly (subject to conditions), and fulfill orders within 30 days unless longer is agreed.[18]

FX Policies



The national tax laws of each EU member are framed within certain parameters specified by the EU in the Sixth Council Directive 77/388/EEC (as amended) on the common system of VAT and the uniform basis for its assessment. Under this directive, a common VAT system is compulsory for all member states.

The European Union Law has important influence on Swedish Tax Laws. Sweden became a member of European Union in January 1, 1995 and while The Ministry of Finance and the Swedish Tax Administration independently administer the Swedish tax system, this administration happens in concert with European Union regulations.

In Sweden, the VAT is known as "moms" (short for mervärdesskatt). The standard VAT rate is 25 percent, the highest rate in the EU. VAT is a state sales tax that is levied on all increases in value throughout the production and distribution chain and reported to the tax authorities. E-commerce transactions in Sweden are taxed in the same way as regular purchases, with the VAT rates applied to digital goods and services.

Sweden has adopted the provisions of EU Directive 2002/38/EC on VAT on e-commerce. As such, non-EU businesses supplying software updates, electronic data, distant learning, online subscriptions, or other electronic services in Sweden, are subject to VAT in accordance with the location of the customer, not the supplier, as per the standing EU Directive. [19]


Sweden has the lowest level of internet penetration out in the Nordics, but second highest average spend and largest total market.[20]


A 2014 survey by Bring highlighted security as the most important consideration for consumers shopping online.[21]

Mobile appetite

Especially in Sweden, more and more people are using their smartphone to shop online. Over there 20% of residents used this device for ecommerce purchases during the second quarter of this year (2015). [22]

The global rank also serves to highlight how advanced Swedish consumers are in the adoption of smartphones yet, although the usage of mobile devices is growing, it is also important to note that desktops are still an important component in the digital journey. In Sweden, a mobile device is the preferred choice. Apple smartphones hold a slim majority over Android devices. A recent study by the Nordics Smarter eCommerce Group showed that 80% of Swedish retailers use a responsive site to optimise the customer experience. App usage is quite low at 6%.[23]


  1. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  2. ECommerce News. "The Most Common Payment Methods in Europe"
  3. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  4. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  5. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  6. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  7. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  8. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  9. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  10. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  11. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  12. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  13. ECommerce News. http://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-per-country/ecommerce-sweden/ "ECommerce Sweden."]
  14. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  15. EMarketer. "Strong Growth in Retail ECommerce Sales for Sweden."
  16. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  17. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  18. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  19. IBIS.com "Internet Law News Portal."
  20. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  21. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "
  22. ECommerce News. "ECommerce in the Nordics."
  23. eCommerce Worldwide. The Nordics Cross Border Passport. "