Sweden 50 2021

The annual report on the most valuable and strongest Swedish brands

Brand Finance Sweden 50 2021

Sweden’s Top Brands Lose Over SEK 100 billion in Brand Value

  • Total brand value of Sweden’s top 50 most valuable brands falls by 10% from SEK 1.1 trillion to SEK 970 billion.
  • IKEA is nation’s and Scandinavia’s most valuable brand for 9th consecutive year and is also named Sweden’s strongest brand with AAA- strength rating
  • Spotify breaks into top 5 following solid 27% brand value increase
  • Banks’ brand values suffer, but Klarna bucks trend – up 31%
  • Willys is Sweden’s fastest-growing brand, up 60% and jumping 9 spots
  • Swedish brands dominate Brand Finance Nordic 150 2021 ranking
  • Brand Finance has expanded into Sweden, appointing Anna Brolin as new Country Director

Top 50 lose over SEK 100 billion in brand value

Following a hard year for all businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, the total brand value of Sweden’s top 50 most valuable brands has dropped by 10% from SEK 1.1 trillion to SEK 970 billion, according to the latest Brand Finance Sweden 50 2021 report.

Whilst the Swedish Government did not introduce as many formal COVID-19 restrictions as the rest of the world, much of the population still self-isolated with many working from home, shopping online, and changing the way they interact with brands.

The decrease in brand value is in line with the trend seen in the Brand Finance Global 500 2021 report, with most countries seeing a cumulative drop in brand value. However, Sweden’s is sharper than its Nordic counterparts, with Finland and Denmark each seeing a fall of 3% and Norway remaining at almost the same level as the previous year, according to the Brand Finance Finland 25, Denmark 50, and Norway 10 rankings.

Having tracked the strength and value of Swedish brands for nearly a decade, Brand Finance has now established market representation in Sweden, appointing Anna Brolin as the new Country Director.

Despite Sweden’s top brands suffering this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is impressive that such a small country enjoys such a strong representation in Brand Finance’s international rankings. Yet many brands are not measured and do not take advantage of the quickly evolving tools available for a more professional brand management. Research insights and financial analysis can help leverage brands to their full potential and recover the brand value that has been lost in the pandemic.

Anna Brolin, Country Director of Brand Finance Sweden

This year, Brand Finance is celebrating 25 years of operations globally and we are proud to announce that we are continuing to widen our footprint through expanding into Sweden. Having previously worked with Swedish clients, including Ericsson, SEB, Swedbank, and Vattenfall, we are excited to help even more Swedish brands make their mark on the global stage and continue to be strong ambassadors for the nation’s economy.

David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance

IKEA dominates for 9th consecutive year

IKEA has retained the top spot as Sweden’s most valuable brand for the ninth consecutive year despite recording a 16% drop in brand value, down to SEK 158.6 billion, which sees its lead over second-placed Volvo (down 4% to SEK 156.6 billion) reduced to just SEK 2.0 billion. 

COVID-19 forced 75% of IKEA stores to close for a number of weeks, which hampered the retail giant’s ability to generate revenue, with total retail sales down by 4%. Changes in customer behaviour also impacted sales, with fewer impulse purchases being made.

However, IKEA did see a significant increase in online traffic with an additional one billion visits being made to its website. The brand also announced they will no longer be producing their iconic catalogue which highlights its commitment to digital moving forward.

In addition to measuring brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, IKEA is Sweden’s strongest brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 80.6 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA- brand strength rating. According to the Brand Finance Global Brand Equity Monitor, IKEA ranks particularly high for reputation.

Spotify streams ahead and cracks top 5

Spotify has jumped two places to claim the 4th spot in the Brand Finance Sweden 50 2021 ranking. The streaming platform saw an impressive 27% increase in brand value to SEK 49.3 billion, thanks to the growing number of users during the global lockdown, as well as widening its footprint and launching in 13 new countries. It also signed a number of exclusive podcasts to the platform - including The Joe Rogan Experience - and struck a new licensing agreement with Universal Music Group.

Scania and Vattenfall enter top 10

Scania (brand value SEK 26.6 billion, 7th) and Vattenfall (brand value SEK 24.0 billion, 9th) also recorded increases in brand value, up 24% and 7% respectively, both moving into the top 10 this year. Scania saw revenues and forecasts increase and vehicle deliveries reached a record high with an 11% increase year-on-year.

Despite profits taking a hit as a result of the pandemic, Vattenfall has shown impressive resilience given the reduction in power generation and lower sales of electricity, gas, and heat. The brand has continued to focus on its investment projects, expansion, and partnerships, which include offshore wind investment projects and the opening of the largest onshore wind farm in the Netherlands. Vattenfall’s one-brand strategy, following the rebrand of Nuon Vattenfall, has made it a stronger force in the market in general.

Bank brand values fall but Klarna bucks trend

The cumulative brand value of banking brands in the Brand Finance Sweden 50 2021 ranking has dropped 20% year-on-year from SEK 137.4 billion to SEK 110.3 billion, in line with the global trend. However, Klarna saw an impressive 31% rise in brand value from SEK 3.6 billion to SEK 4.7 billion, with significant increases in revenue and forecasts being the main contributing factor.

A strong performance in the US, expansion into four new countries, and new product offerings such as its Vibe loyalty programme, have all contributed to Klarna’s successful year which saw a 40% increase in total net operating profit.

Fastest growing: Willys up 60%

Outperforming all its peers in the ranking, Willys has seen an impressive 60% increase in brand value to SEK 6.0 billion over the past year, becoming the nation’s fastest-growing brand. COVID-19 drove people to eat out less and cook more at home and with the brand ramping up its digital offering, it allowed it to capitalise on the increasing number of online customers.

Sweden’s leading discount supermarket chain also increased its Brand Strength Index (BSI) score by 14 points to 66.0 out of 100. This boost in BSI contributed heavily to the impressive increase in Willys’ brand value and stands it in good stead to continue growing in the future.

Brand Finance Nordic 150 2021: Standout Sweden

Looking beyond the domestic market, Swedish brands dominate the Brand Finance Nordic 150 2021 ranking, with a combined brand value of SEK 1 trillion, equating to 54% of the ranking’s total brand value. IKEA (down 16% to SEK 158.6 billion), Volvo (down 4% to SEK 156.6 billion), and H&M (down 19% to SEK 109.1 billion) have retained the top three positions in the regional ranking. 65 brands from Sweden feature, compared with 29 from Finland, 36 from Denmark, and 20 from Norway.

Swedish brands are still very well represented in the Brand Finance Nordic 150 ranking, with over half of the companies listed hailing from Sweden and the top three all being Swedish brands for the fourth year running. Still the most valuable brand across the Nordics, IKEA is synonymous with Sweden and its global stature will undoubtedly be a boost to Sweden’s economic growth post-COVID.

Anna Brolin, Country Director, Brand Finance Sweden