Sweden: open for business and fairly confident

Payment Practices Barometer

  • Sweden
  • Automotive/Transport,
  • Chemicals/Pharma,
  • Construction,
  • Paper

25th November 2020

Sweden has followed its own path during the COVID-19 pandemic and, although more people are working from home than before, the country has avoided the lockdowns seen elsewhere in Europe.


Sweden’s approach to managing the pandemic has differed from its peers across Western  Europe. It has not practised lockdowns or stay at home orders, preferring to issue   recommendations rather than restrictions for its citizens. The majority of schools and   businesses have remained open. However, this does not automatically translate into an   economy untouched by COVID-19.

By comparing this year’s Payment Practices Barometer survey results with last year’s pre-pandemic results we can see clear pandemic-related trends. Payment terms and late  payments both increased year-on-year. More staff were laid off from Sweden’s businesses than the average for Western Europe. 50% of respondents expressed optimism about the domestic economy, fewer than the regional average of 57%. However, Sweden has also  experienced the lowest GDP contraction in the region.

Key takeaways from the report

  • Trade credit is widely used in Sweden, largely to grow domestic sales
  • Payment terms rise rapidly on last year’s figures. Survey respondents said they lengthened terms to encourage both export and domestic sales
  • Businesses experience increase in late payments
  • Industry in Sweden fares better than Western European peers. Despite the increase in customer payment defaults following the onset of the pandemic, most of the businesses polled in Sweden fared better than their regional counterparts
  • Business confidence remains largely upbeat: more businesses in Sweden expressed optimism about the domestic economy, global economy and international trade than pessimism

Interested in getting to know more?

For a complete overview of the corporate payment behaviour in Sweden during the COVID-19 pandemic and global recession, please download the complete report.
The report gives also insight into the impact of the pandemic-induced economic crisis on the following industries in the country:

  • Chemicals
  • Construction materials
  • Transport
  • Paper

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