Sweden's trusted sidekick: How going online via smartphones doubled in five years

June 2017

A new report (1) from Google documents findings from a comprehensive five-year study, where 625,000 interviews were conducted with consumers around the world. The study confirms Sweden as one of the top performing countries when it comes to internet adoption, and reveals how 85% of Swedes now use a smartphone.

Conducted by Google and Kantar TNS, the study establishes the effect of the monumental change in media and technology habits - both in Sweden and globally - brought about by the internet in just half a decade.

Sweden: world leaders in internet use

94% of Swedes use the internet for personal purposes, making Sweden one of the world leaders in internet adoption across the 56 markets polled. The mean across these global markets is 77% and Sweden is matched only by other Northern European countries such as the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark.

The total level of internet penetration has been relatively stable for the last five years. However, the proportion of daily internet users has increased from 73% in 2012 to 87% today.


And Swedes reap the benefit of going online: for 85% it is the first place they look when they need information, and 62% say that they prefer doing a task digitally if they have the opportunity.

A trusted sidekick

For most Swedes, the biggest digital change in the last five years is probably their smartphone. In 2012, one in three consumers across 40 markets had access to a smartphone. Just four years later, the number has risen to a staggering 70%. In Sweden, 85% use a smartphone compared to just 51% in 2012.


At the same time, people are using more devices than ever: 73% say they access the internet at least as often via smartphone as they do on a computer. That’s twice as many as in 2012, when the number was 35%, confirming that the days of thinking of the smartphone as a secondary device are long gone.

And while the growth of the smartphone has been swift across all demographics, the smartphone has become a trusted sidekick, especially for young Swedes. For those under 25 the smartphone is a device to:

  • Find information: 79% use search engines at least weekly
  • Watch video: 77% watch online videos at least weekly
  • Interact with their friends: 86% visit social networks at least weekly and 64% check email

The Consumer Barometer: key stats from Sweden

Further notable Swedish numbers from the report include:

  • 7 out of 10 of all Swedes over the age of 45 are smartphone users
  • 42% of all Swedish internet users listen to music on their smartphone at least weekly
  • For 49% of Swedes, the smartphone is their primary alarm clock
  • For 33% of Swedes, their smartphone is their primary source for news
  • Almost two thirds (65%) of those over the age of 55 use a smartphone
  • 54% of Swedes between 25 and 34 years of age look up directions and maps on their smartphones at least weekly

About the report

The Google Consumer Barometer Report presents a flavor of the findings from the massive, multi-year research project. You can use the Consumer Barometer Tool to dive deeper into the numbers and compose your own graphs across markets and demographics, including comparing Sweden to countries around the world.

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