Digital marketing trends in Sweden – 2021

After most of the unusual year of 2020, we now look back at what trends emerged during the year. The year was marked by monumental changes in how people interact, shop, and seek information online. This report analyses how these trends will influence the digital marketing landscape in Sweden during the coming year 2021 and beyond.

Swedish internet usage at an all-time high

Coming up to 2020, the internet usage market was pretty saturated in Sweden, with 96% of the population already using the internet daily (ITU, 2019). During this year, with the extra constraints of having to work from home and perhaps having to be isolated during large portions of the year, we can see that there has been an increased adaptation to online environments.

In 2020 the Swedish people spent on average 6,5 hours online, of which 3,5 hours were on a mobile device. According to a study by the Swedish Internet Foundation, of the Swedish population, 31% reported that their internet usage has increased during 2020. 

Sweden also reached 7,3 million social media users, 73% of the total population and a 2% increase compared to 2019. The top three most visited sites in Sweden were Google, YouTube, and Facebook, with combined monthly visits of over 800 million, cementing their lead as the nation’s most visited pages.

Increased pressure on digital marketers while e-commerce grows

For digital marketers, the trend of increased traffic to websites and social media has unfortunately been met with cuts to marketing budgets. Although reductions have been made to marketing budgets, the pressure on digital marketers to acquire new business has never been more significant. 

According to a study conducted in 2020 by WeAreSocial and Hootsuite, 73% of marketers answered that their top priority is to increase the acquisition of new customers. TIIt is a significant shift from earlier years when the top priorities have increased brand awareness and customer retention.

In Sweden, e-commerce grew in 2020 at the same pace as in earlier years (SCB, 2020) which is still a significant increase. Compared to other European countries, the Swedish e-commerce market has long been well established and already had plenty of reliable actors.

The most significant increase in e-commerce shopping in 2020 was among the elderly. In the age groups 65-75 and 75-85, there was a 17.5%, respectively, a 62.5% increase in e-shopping compared to 2019. Among Swedes aged 16-85, nearly 70% of the respondents said they had bought something on the internet in the last three months.

CPC is down across platforms

While some numbers are just now coming in from 2020, we can look at the trends from the data that has already been collected. In 2020 Q2, it is reported that the average CPC was down -23% across platforms and that there was a 79% increase in reach during Q2 and Q3 on Facebook and Instagram.

The total digital ad spent in 2019 was 1,84 billion euros (Datareportal, 2020). While we are still speculating the total for 2020, we believe that it will stay stable as the budget restraints have been met with an increased need to advertise digitally.

Increased ad spending on e-commerce in Sweden

It is paired with a trend of an increased ad spend among e-commerce retailers, who were up by 79% during Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019. This can be attributed to the first wave of the pandemic hitting western Europe during this time. Still, the ad spending was higher even before that, indicating increased focus and importance on e-commerce advertising.

A study by the Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel) shows some trends in sectors increasing sales during the year and which sectors have lost during the pandemic. 

Among the sectors that had the most significant increases in sales in Sweden in 2020, we can find the “building and painting” sector along with the “sporting goods” sector. The most considerable losses in commerce were attributed to the “jewellery and watches” industry and “optician” sector. The drop indicates that there has been both a shrinking demand for luxury items in a time of economic downturn and that products that are not needed as much in the pandemic lifestyle are not sought after.

When analysing trends like this, we need to be aware that these changes have happened during a very turbulent period. There may be some underlying factors that have pushed the sporting goods industry towards e-commerce. Although, we are also accounting for the possibility that some sectors that have seen losses will recover when the pandemic ends, and consumer behaviours normalise.


We can see that the digital marketing sector is moving in both more challenging territories and into areas of more excellent opportunities. We can see budgetary restraints simultaneously as we see new and emerging markets coming up through changes in consumer behaviour. That is why we as digital marketers have to be brighter than before and more agile in our ways of working. 

What is essential for us is that we are no longer approaching these problems without guidance but with a large stack of historical and real-time data to assist us in our decision-making processes. One trend that has not been diminished in 2020 is the importance of having good data and analysing it properly and letting it illuminate the road ahead so that we all can avoid missed opportunities and costly mistakes.

For more information about how we are approaching the digital marketing landscape in Sweden:

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