1. 9,000 yen for one mug
Gustavsberg is a Swedish pottery manufacturer with a history of about 200 years. Even today, we still follow traditional manufacturing methods and manufacture Swedish tableware. Today, I will explain why Gustavsberg's Scandinavian tableware is expensive.
A Gustavsberg mug costs about 9,000 yen. Even the same quality products are greatly affected by the exchange rate. When the yen is strong, it can be sold for 8,000 yen, but it is not uncommon to find it for 10,000 yen. Of course the cup itself is the same.
2. Tableware made from the soil of Mr. Gustav's Hill
Gustavsberg products are still made in a factory named Gustavsberg, located in the outskirts of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden.
It is called Gustavsberg from the name of the place where the founder "Gustav" made the factory when the company was created in the 19th century. "Berri" means "hill" in Swedish, and is derived from the fact that there was a hill where the soil that was perfect for pottery made by turning the potter's wheel was available. Gustavsberg means "Mr. Gustav's Hill" .
(Photo: 19th century Gustavsberg company building)
3. Big Mac index and high prices in Sweden
So why are Gustavsberg products so expensive? Let's take McDonald's as an example. In economics, there is a barometer that represents the price and exchange rate of each country called the "Big Mac Index" .
McDonald's basically has stores all over the world. And we offer the same standard of service at any store in the world. Therefore, if the store price of hamburgers is different , it means that it reflects the price of the country and the high or low cost of living . This is the "Big Mac Index".
The 2023 Big Mac Index ranks Sweden as the fourth most expensive country in the world for Big Macs . Japan is 41st . In Sweden, a single Big Mac costs 770 yen. In Japan, it is 400-500 yen, depending on the region. The same product in Sweden is about 1.75 times more expensive than in Japan . This reflects the high prices and cost of living in the country as a whole.
Four. High prices = high tableware
The reason Gustavsberg's Scandinavian tableware is expensive is because of the high prices in Sweden . It is also important that Gustavsberg, unlike other Nordic manufacturers, has not moved its production bases abroad . This is because the brand attaches great importance to tradition and quality, but as a result, these values lead to higher production costs and higher product prices.
This is directly reflected in the value of the Gustavsberg cup. Sweden does not have a minimum wage system, but since it is a very expensive country in the first place, labor costs and material costs are high . The fuel cost for firing the pottery in the kiln is the same.
Furthermore, the Swedish sales tax is 25%. In other words, if you buy a cup for 10,000 yen, it will be 12,500 yen including tax (tax-free depending on the purchase method).
And if you import it to Japan, it costs more to transport it, so if you buy it in Sweden, it will be even more expensive if you try to buy it in Japan. Commodity prices, wages, taxes, and international shipping costs add up, and it's quite expensive.
Five. Gustavsberg for pure Swedish tableware
Under the influence of such high prices and labor costs, almost all long-established manufacturers of Nordic tableware are now moving their production bases to Southeast Asia . For example, manufacturing bases of super famous manufacturers such as ARABIA and Marimekko are in Southeast Asia . ARABIA and Marimekko products sold in Northern Europe are now made in Thailand. It's an era where it's cheaper to make it in Thailand and then import it to Northern Europe than to make it locally.
However , only Gustavsberg adheres to traditional methods and continues to make 100% Swedish handmade tableware in its own factory in Stockholm . We are making a clear distinction from the business of major manufacturers moving their factories to Southeast Asia on a large scale and selling them all over the world at relatively low prices.
(Photo: Gustavsberg factory that still uses traditional methods)
6. Summary of reasons for high prices
1) Made in Northern Europe where wages are high
2) Including shipping costs and taxes
3) Still manufacturing in Sweden following tradition
This is the reason why Gustavsberg's Scandinavian tableware is expensive. It would be nice if Gustavsberg moved to Southeast Asia, but he still employs a staff of specialists to make pottery and continues to manufacture in the same location as in the 19th century. Gustavsberg's high price includes the expense of maintaining and perpetuating tradition .
If you have the opportunity to pick up a Gustavsberg cup, I would like you to feel the Scandinavian tradition and scenery that has been handed down from generation to generation.
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