Nicotine segment continues growing while e-commerce experiences the sharpest decline in 15 years

2023-06-21 12:00

The Swedish Retail Federation’s (Svensk Handel) e-commerce indicator for May shows a continuous decline in e-commerce turnover. Measured in Swedish consumers’ e-commerce from only Swedish operators, the turnover decreased by 12 per cent compared with the same month last year and by 14 per cent if e-commerce from abroad is also included. However, from January to May, the turnover for the segment of nicotine and tobacco products category grew by 43 per cent compared to last year.

According to the report, the e-commerce development in May, compared to the same month last year, was the worst since January. Accumulated over the year from January through May, e-commerce in Sweden has fallen by 6 per cent. When including e-commerce from abroad, the trend is minus 7 per cent.

“The decline is one of the sharpest we’ve seen for e-commerce in a single month since it seriously took off over 15 years ago”, says Per Ljungberg, Head of Innovation at Svensk Handel, and continued:

“The consumer behaviour of shopping online is relatively constant, and certain product categories continue to perform well. But mainly, capital-intensive categories are having a tough time. The decline in e-commerce is primarily due to the general average order value decreasing when consumers have less money to work with.”

Only three categories demonstrated growth: nicotine and tobacco products (43 per cent), pharmaceuticals (7 per cent), and clothing and footwear (5 per cent).

“The nicotine and tobacco products segment benefits from not being a capital-intense category in times of high inflation and tougher economic times. The segment’s growth is from relatively low levels, and we believe – even though it sounds contradictory – that these economic times partly drive the segment’s growth due to consumers finding the products online, where prices generally are more favourable than in in-store-retailers”, says Markus Lindblad, Head of External Affairs.

Svensk Handel is a Swedish trade- and employer organisation that engages in wholesale, retail and e-commerce trading issues. Every month Svensk Handel conducts an interview-based study to report how Swedish e-commerce has developed during the period.

Access the full report (in Swedish) 

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