There’s no sense of Scandi noir in our latest country survey – there’s a prevailing sense of optimism, even if some familiar gripes still persist.
Since our last survey of the Swedish market, just under a year ago, the country’s economic indicators have improved a little – and there seems to be a sense of optimism in some of the answers to our questions as well. For instance, roughly two-thirds of our sample thought that confidence levels in the country’s installation sector were higher than six months ago, and roughly the same proportion thought their company’s revenues were on an upward trend. (Among the rest, ‘no change’ was the predominant response to both of these questions.) Similarly, when asked the prospects for different vertical markets in the country this year, our respondents’ replies averaged out so no vertical was on a downward trend – the most damning verdict was that business in performing arts venues would be flat this year.
When we asked our respondents to pick their most pressing business concerns from a list of six, two predominated. The first of these was ‘clients going for lowest price rather than best value’. Jan Setterberg, senior adviser at consultancy Soliflex commented here: “Government business usually goes for the lowest price, as price is usually the only part of a purchase they understand.” The second issue, almost as prevalent, was ‘poorly qualified newcomers distorting the market’. Kenneth Edlund, CTO for AV/DS at integrator Mindspace Group, stated: “Many inexperienced companies without knowledge are testing their luck in AV and digital signage.” The IT sector was also singled out for criticism here.
Our survey also asked for advice to companies entering the Swedish market – both manufacturers and integrators. An anonymous consultant made this observation to both types of company: “Sweden is such a big country area-wise but not very big population-wise. That means that entering cost is fairly high per capita. You have to have a staff that really knows the market.” A distributor suggested to manufacturers, “Do not neglect the smaller businesses.”
Turning to recommendations to integrators looking to do business in Sweden, Soliflex’s Setterberg said: “Do a very careful market investigation – and look extra carefully at Swedish business traditions and make sure, over time, to learn our language.” These thoughts were perhaps echoed in another respondent’s answer: “Business is local and long-term.” Mindspace’s Edlund offered the following: “Certify and educate your personnel with InfoComm/CEDIA and manufacturers’ [training] as there are no good [university courses] that suit the AV market in Sweden.” And that’s a point that would be applicable in many other countries as well.