Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Swedish Consumer Report 2013

Credit: Konsumentverket, KO

The Swedish Consumer Report 2013 (Konsumentrapporten) is the first of its kind for the Swedish Consumer Agency, Konsumentverket, KO,  and was commissioned by the Government. The objective is to highlight markets that create problems for consumers and describe the most important conditions that enable consumers to act. The report is primarily based on consumer perceptions of how easy or difficult it is to be a consumer in 45 markets. KO has investigated consumer perceptions using a specifically designed survey – the so-called Consumer Market Survey (kmu). The results provide a comparative picture of consumer experiences across a wide range of markets; for example when buying a holiday, taking a car to be fixed or when hiring a tradesman. The comparison is made on the basis of factors such as access to information, choice and the extent to which consumers have trust in the laws that protect them from being cheated.

Problematic consumer markets

Most markets have both their strengths and weaknesses. Of course, a positive assessment of the level of choice within a market does not imply that the trustworthiness of advertising and marketing is high.
There are also markets that characterise themselves by their low ranking scores in several areas – whether it concerns formal complaints, the ease of comparing products, trustworthiness of businesses or the range and choice available.
The markets judged to pose the most problems for consumers are telecommunications services (internet, television, landline and mobile contracts), insurance (life, home and vehicle insurance), banking and financial services (investments/pensions, personal loans/credit, mortgages and current accounts), travel by rail and local public transport, electricity, tradesmen, vehicle maintenance services, estate agents, clothing and footwear and second-hand cars.

Opportunities for business

The Consumer Report highlights opportunities for businesses to improve consumer conditions, thereby also becoming more attractive to consumers. In some cases a combined initiative by both the public and private sectors may be needed to improve an entire branch.

Highly recommended source for in-depth analysis of Swedish consumer markets and development of competitive multi-channel concepts.

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