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Why the Nordic climate boosts sales

Julia Bernert

Published on 17.03.2020

Kjell Harbom, CEO of the Swedish industry association SBPR

Why do Swedes spend on average more on promotional products and where can you learn so much about the promotional products market in three days as in three months of online research?

Kjell Harbom, CEO of the Swedish industry association SBPR, talks to us in an interview about the differences between the German and Swedish promotional products market and explains why PSI gives him new energy every year.

Kjell, as CEO of Svensk Branschförening Profil- och Reklamartiklar (SBPR) you know the Swedish promotional products market better than anyone else does. How do the Swedish and German markets differ?

Well, I was surprised when the GWW presented their industry barometer for 2019 at the PSI Press Conference. It says that 97 per cent of all promotional products sold in Germany were in the price category 10 Euros or less. That is a remarkable difference to my home market! In Sweden, we are willing to invest more money on a promotional item so the number for the 10 Euro or less products would be more like 87 or 90 per cent. Possibly, because of the Nordic climate, promotional textiles are a big Swedish deal. Selling sweaters and especially jackets is very popular.

How important is PSI for the industry in Sweden and worldwide?

In my opinion, PSI is very important because this is the ultimate market place to be for all professionals of the promotional products industry. If you spend two or three days here in Düsseldorf, you get a complete market overview. For comparison: If you stay at home and do your own research on the internet or with catalogues, you’ll possibly spend three months for the same amount and quality of information. But unfortunately not everybody understands how efficient and beneficial a visit at PSI is.

How do the Swedes use their visit to the trade show?

From our country, many visitors just head to Düsseldorf for appointments with familiar Swedish business partners – without looking left or right. What a waste of potential! That’s why we advise our members again and again to look at the entire show and get in touch with exhibitors from other countries as that is the only way to get a resilient overview of the industry‘s performance. On the other hand, the habit of Swedish meeting Swedish, having coffee and a chat at PSI is also an important social thing. It makes PSI a meeting place where you can fuel your motivation.

You’ve been part of this industry for a long time. Will we still be able to meet you at PSI in the future?

Some might say I am too old for my job. But, every November, while setting my schedule for the next year, I question myself ‚one more PSI or not‘. And so far I always came over – and never regretted. Every PSI shows me how much fun our business is. After the show with its unique spirit, I am so overwhelmed, motivated and full of energy to go for another year at the office.

Many thanks for the interview