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

15 September 2021
This article is more than 2 years old.
  • 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

View the full Brand Finance Sweden 50 2021 report here

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.

Anna Brolin, Country Director of Brand Finance Sweden, commented:

"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." 

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance Plc, commented:

“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.”

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.

Anna Brolin, Country Director, Brand Finance Sweden, commented:

“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.”

View the full Brand Finance Sweden 50 2021 report here


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Jamie Hyman
Global Managing Director
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance          

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organisations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes nearly 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardisation of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671, and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.


Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Value

Brand value refers to the present value of earnings specifically related to brand reputation. Organisations own and control these earnings by owning trademark rights.

All brand valuation methodologies are essentially trying to identify this, although the approach and assumptions differ. As a result, published brand values can be different.

These differences are similar to the way equity analysts provide business valuations that are different to one another. The only way you find out the “real” value is by looking at what people really pay.

As a result, Brand Finance always incorporates a review of what users of brands actually pay for the use of brands in the form of brand royalty agreements, which are found in more or less every sector in the world.

This is known as the “Royalty Relief” methodology and is by far the most widely used approach for brand valuations since it is grounded in reality.

It is the basis for our public rankings but we always augment it with a real understanding of people’s perceptions and their effects on demand – from our database of market research on over 3000 brands in over 30 markets.

Brand Valuation Methodology

For our rankings, Brand Finance uses the simplest method possible to help readers understand, gain trust in, and actively use brand valuations.

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668.

Our Brand Strength Index assessment, a balanced scorecard of brand-related measures, is also compliant with international standards (ISO 20671) and operates as a predictive tool of future brand value changes and a control panel to help business improving marketing.

We do this in the following four steps:

1. Brand Impact

We review what brands already pay in royalty agreements. This is augmented by an analysis of how brands impact profitability in the sector versus generic brands.

This results in a range of possible royalties that could be charged in the sector for brands (for example a range of 0% to 2% of revenue).

2. Brand Strength

We adjust the rate higher or lower for brands by analysing Brand Strength. We analyse brand strength by looking at three core pillars: “Investment” which are activities supporting the future strength of the brand; “Equity” which are real perceptions sourced from our original market research and other data partners; “Performance” which are brand-related measures of business results, such as market share.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+, in a format similar to a credit rating.

3. Brand Impact x Brand Strength

The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4. Brand Value Calculation

We determine brand-specific revenues as a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to the brand in question and forecast those revenues by analysing historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

We then apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues and apply the relevant valuation assumptions to arrive at a discounted, post-tax present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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