A study of companies operating in Sweden

As a company data provider, we (obviously) have quite a bit of data about companies. This data can be used for any number of things, but more often than not, it's used to identify the companies that are the most lucrative for a business and find companies similar to them at scale. For the sake of this article, we decided to do something different with that data—we decided to analyze it and see what trends we could uncover.

So, let's start at what could be seen as the beginning: How many companies are there in Sweden? Well, our database contains 1,828,434 Business IDs, which is quite a lot!

Now, there are probably many different numbers and statistics floating around out there, and one might assume that they all can’t be right. This is a fair assumption but not necessarily an accurate one. When it comes to statistics, it’s important to read the fine print.

We have our own idiosyncratic way of recording data, such as including subsidiaries of foreign companies in our database, which other organizations might not do. This is just a heads-up in case you spot something that you have seen a different number for elsewhere.

But anyway, in this article, we’ll dive into Sweden’s business landscape. Expect to learn what the biggest companies by revenue are, the most common industries (both according to the Standard Industrial Classification and our proprietary classification), the most used technologies, and much more.

The biggest companies in Sweden

This almost feels like a formality since it’s unlikely that there’ll be any major surprises for the companies with the highest revenues—they are likely to be some of the most recognizable brands in the country, after all. Important disclaimer: These numbers take the company’s international operations into account.

  1. Volvo 420bKr
  2. Ericsson 263bKr
  3. H&M 225bKr
  4. Preem 164bKr
  5. Skanska 163bKr

Distribution of companies in Sweden based on employee count

Unsurprisingly, the five biggest companies in Sweden would be considered “enterprise” companies, which we define as any company with over 1,000 employees. How many enterprise companies are there in Sweden? 697. Enterprise companies only account for 0.2% of the companies that have employees.

Most companies that have employees in Sweden are “micro” companies, which means that they, by our definition, have between 1 and 10 employees. There are 296,451 “micro” companies in Sweden, and they account for 85.19% of all companies that have employees.

If you’re eagle-eyed, you might have noticed a discrepancy: We said there were 1,828,434 businesses in Sweden earlier, so how can 296,451 “micro” companies account for the majority of companies in Sweden?

Well, the graph below shows the distribution of companies that have employees in Sweden based on employee count—and most companies in Sweden don’t have any employees. Most companies in Sweden are sole proprietorships, meaning they aren’t included in the graph.

B2B vs. B2C

It might not surprise you to hear that most companies in Sweden are business-to-customer (B2C) companies, accounting for 70% of companies. This means that 30% of the companies in Sweden are business-to-business (B2B). 

Note: This analysis was made possible by analyzing companies’ websites, so if a company does not have a website, it won’t have been considered. This means that, in actuality, the exact split may be different if one assumes that B2C companies are more likely to have websites than B2B companies.

Most common industries - Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)

Besides knowing the size of a company, it can be important to know what that company actually does—which is where industry comes into play.

When a company is created in Sweden, the person establishing the company has to choose a SIC code that encompasses the company’s business activities, and some SIC codes are more frequently picked than others. Here are the top 10 most commonly chosen SIC codes:

  1. Real estate activities — 159,125
  2. Forestry and logging — 149,019
  3. Activities of membership organisations — 104,281
  4. Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities — 87,823
  5. Specialised construction activities — 87,677
  6. Activities of head offices — 79,306
  7. Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles — 73,313
  8. Creative, arts and entertainment activities — 62,444
  9. Sports activities and amusement and recreation activities — 51,113
  10. Other personal service activities — 51,075

Note: The number indicates the number of companies that have chosen that SIC code.

Most common industries - Vainu Custom Industries (VCI)

If the traditional industry codes aren’t your cup of tea, we’ve also categorized Swedish companies based on our proprietary industry classification taxonomy, Vainu Custom Industries. Long story short, this machine-learning model analyzes companies’ websites to predict which of our 900 segments they are operating within. In Sweden, the 10 most common VCI tags are:

  1. Information Technology — 54,892
  2. Software — 46,259
  3. Service Industry — 41,239
  4. Consulting — 36,625
  5. Manufacturing — 36,594
  6. E-Commerce — 30,753
  7. Real Estate — 27,721
  8. Health Care — 27,519
  9. Education — 24,554
  10. Professional Services — 23,111

Note: The number indicates the number of companies associated with that VCI code. Unlike SIC codes, a company can (and likely will) have multiple industry tags.

The cities in Sweden with the most companies

The last of the “Big Three” firmographic data points is location. For this, we analyzed our Swedish company dataset to find which cities in Sweden had the largest number of companies. Here are the top 10 cities:

  1. Stockholm — 159,180
  2. Göteborg — 67,925
  3. Malmö — 44,376
  4. Uppsala — 29,324
  5. Västerås — 18,931
  6. Örebro — 18,880
  7. Linköping — 16,839
  8. Umeå — 16,700
  9. Helsingborg — 16,007
  10. Lund — 15,996

Note: The number indicates the number of companies operating in that city.

The most commonly used technologies by Swedish companies

Although firmographics often form the backbone of most company segmentations, there is more to a company than its size, industry, and location. There are, for example, the technologies that it uses! Our database contains over 14,000 web technologies, but for this demonstration, we’ll settle for showing the 10 most commonly used technologies by Swedish companies:

  1. Wordpress — 124,408
  2. Youtube Embed — 95,997
  3. Google Analytics — 95,868
  4. Google Tag Manager — 84,500
  5. Outlook — 72,532
  6. Google Maps — 52,348
  7. Recaptcha — 38,698
  8. Gmail — 27,160
  9. Cloudflare — 21,477
  10. Visa — 21,088

Note: The number indicates the number of companies using those web technologies. This information was found by analyzing companies’ websites. We have excluded technologies such as social media share buttons and the things that almost everyone has, like Underscore.js or TLS v1.1.

The most visited Swedish websites

While we’re already talking about web stuff, let’s talk about even more website stuff—such as the most visited websites in our Swedish database.

  1. expressen.se 1,225
  2. aftonbladet.se 4,200
  3. svt.se 4,482
  4. dn.se 5,605
  5. kth.se 5,734
  6. telenor.se 6,793
  7. hemnet.se 7,561
  8. uu.se 7,909
  9. tele2.se 9,884
  10. sverigesradio.se 10,241

Note: These numbers indicate the website's ranking in popularity on a global scale. For example, expressen.se is the 1,225th most visited website worldwide.

Website keywords

This last one is a fun one: What are some interesting (from a prospecting perspective) words that are mentioned often on Swedish websites? If you are, for example, looking for companies that have written “sustainability” on their website, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s mentioned on 14,955 Swedish websites.

  1. lager: 50,621
  2. hållbarhet: 32,584
  3. sustainability: 14,955
  4. oem: 5,101
  5. våra butiker: 2,603
  6. hitta oss: 2,126
  7. ISO 27001: 1,114
  8. prova gratis: 1,757
  9. postnord: 14,550
  10. foodora: 490

Note: These numbers are the number of company websites that include that specific keyword.

Want to get to know Swedish companies better yourself?

Hopefully, you found that analysis of Swedish companies interesting. There are (obviously) lots of different types of companies in Sweden, and it can be difficult to sort through all of them to find the “right” ones if you don’t know what to look for or you don’t have a way to find the companies you’re looking for at scale. Vainu’s company data can help you with (at least) one of those things, so if you’re interested in prospecting better, consider signing up for a free trial.

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A study of companies operating in Sweden Nikolai Bang

Part-time tea drinker. Full-time marketer at Vainu Denmark.