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Synthesis 2015 > Sweden

Sweden 2015

Swedes tend to feel much less vulnerable than other Europeans. Consequently a clear majority of them still consider risk as something exciting while most other countries don’t. The development of collaborative consumption in Sweden is in an on-going dynamic but Swedes are rather less into these new practices than other Europeans.

In Sweden, the feeling of vulnerability has slightly increased but remains low

Unlike the European average, only a minority of Swedes feel more vulnerable than 5 years ago towards the risks of experiencing financial difficulties (42% consider they are more at risk today, compared to 59% for the European average), being plunged into a precarious situation (42%; compared to 53% on average). They are also far less concerned by the possibility of losing their job (27% think the risk is higher compared to 44%). However, their level of concern has softly increased compared to 2013. (+5 points for “being plunged into a precarious situation” and +4 points for “experiencing financial difficulties”).

In 2013, the risk of being mugged or robbed was worrying Swedes almost as much as financial risks, medical risks and road risks. This is far from being the case this year. Only 25% find this risk worrying, far behind health risks –including the loss of autonomy- (66%), financial risks (37%), road risks (31%), or even computer-related risks (26%). The risk of unemployment worries also less the Swedes than the other Europeans (21% of the Swedes find it worrying, compared to 29% on average).

An absolute and growing majority (+6 points compared to 2013) consider they are better protected against all these risks than 5 years ago (57% compared to 33% on average) and one out of four Swedes consider they are “neither better nor less well protected”. People who think they are less well protected are in the minority (18% compared to 41% on average).

Swedes still define risk as something exciting

Sweden remains one of the countries among those surveyed where people are the least likely to consider their social situation is worse than their parents when they were their age (30% compared to 40% on average). Moreover, this proportion has significantly decreased (-9 points compared to 2013). Upward social mobility is however not taken for granted: only 36% believe that their social situation is better than their parents’ when they were their age.

In this context, Swedes’ cultural appetite for risk remains high: 58% consider risk as “something exciting” while most other Europeans look at risk with distrust (60% consider risk as “a danger to be avoided”). A majority of Swedes (58%; -3) also think that to be successful, it is better to take a lot of risks (compared to 48% on average). However, Swedes are less likely than in 2013 to consider that risk is promoted in their country (43%; -4 points) and they are surprisingly less keen on taking risks themselves than the other Europeans (56% consider they are taking risks, compared to 61% on average).

Swedes are a bit less into collaborative consumption than other Europeans

In Sweden, the rise of collaborative consumption (renting, lending, exchanging knowledge between private individuals, car-sharing, exchanging homes…) has been slightly less spectacular than in countries like France or Spain. Whereas 64% of Europeans have witnessed the emergence of these new forms of consumption in their country, 59% have seen this develop in Sweden (including only 9% “a lot”, compared to 14% on average), one of the lowest score observed in Europe (Germany and Great Britain being the lowest).

Swedes are also much less likely than the average to consider collaborative consumption as an answer to the economic crisis: only 26% think the main reason for its development is the economic recession, which is making people try to spend less (compared to 69% in France for example). Swedes are convinced that the main reason is rather technical changes and the opportunities provided by the internet (45% cite this reason compared to 30% on average).

For the last 5 years, Swedes have less than other Europeans opted to buy things second hand (29% have done this more often, compared to 39% on average), to borrow them (21% compared to 27% on average), to exchange them (11% compared to 19%) or to hire them (12% compared to 17%).
Swedes have on average tested 4 out of 17 collaborative consumption practices, which is a bit less than the European average (4.6).
A majority of them have however bought products from small local producers who live in their region (55%) and have used a tutorial (52%; even more than the European average of 48%). They are also more likely to share certain services with neighbours (37%, versus 26% on average).
Only a minority has tried other collaborative practices. Swedes especially lag behind when it comes to purchases and sales: for example, only 19% have made group purchases of goods with other consumers in order to benefit from lower prices (compared to 30%) and only 39% have already bought or sold second-hand electrical appliances, video or hi-fi equipment (compared to 46%). Swedes have also been less seduced by practices in the field of housing, such as asking directly a private individual to rent their home for their holidays (10% compared to 17%) or exchanging homes for holidays (5% compared to 9%).

Swedish minds might however be ready for a change in practices. They indeed appear a bit less keen on private property than the European average: among 7 different items cited, they prefer to borrow or hire 2.3 of them instead of owning them (compared to 2.1 on average). This is especially the case for their main home (24% prefer to borrow or hire it compared to 13% for the European average) and their car (19% compared to 11% on average). They are however a bit less interested in borrowing or hiring a second home (56% prefer this solution to owning it, compared to 65% on average).

The majority of Swedes are convinced that the development of collaborative consumption is an underlying trend (74% think so compared to 73% on average). Only one in four believes on the contrary that these new forms of consumption will not last, and that this phenomenon will run out of steam.

Swedes are a bit less convinced than the European average of the virtues of collaborative consumption

When 69% of the Europeans believe that the development of collaborative consumption leads to more solidarity in society, Swedes are a bit less enthusiastic: 60% think it is the case.

A significant proportion of the Swedish population remains to be convinced that collaborative consumption practices can show (even only partly) solidarity: 52% of Swedes indeed think that lending money through a crowdfunding site in exchange for interest is not at all showing solidarity (compared to 47% on average), 30% think the same about offering to give people a lift in exchange for a small contribution to expenses (compared to 24%) and 32% about participating in the creation of an internet tutorial (compared to 24% on average).

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