After 70 years, Ikea will end the production of its catalog. The decision is part of an ongoing effort to become more digital and accessible.
The first IKEA catalog was produced by IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad himself in 1951. At its peak, the company said 200 million copies of the catalog were distributed to more than 50 markets worldwide.
Ever since it appeared for the first time 70 years ago, the IKEA catalog grew to become a living room table icon for “billions of people across the world.”
But like for many other things, 2020 will be the doom of this icon. With lockdowns and physical limitations to visit stores, this year saw a huge shift to shopping and browsing for goods online. And the IKEA catalog is no longer needed, as the company is seeking out alternatives.
“Turning the page with our beloved catalog is in fact a natural process since media consumption and customer behaviors have changed,” Konrad Grüss, managing director of Inter Ikea Systems B.V., said in a statement. “In order to reach and interact with the many people, we will keep inspiring with our home furnishing solutions in new ways.”
IKEA is not the only company that is moving away from printed marketing. And the change of behavior linked to the COVID-19 pandemic is not the only responsible. According to a survey from global management and consulting firm Kearney, 11% of consumers have altered their purchases within the past year based on environmental claims and a more conscious and sustainable approach to their purchasing behavior. COVID-19 only accelerated this trend.
Even for IKEA, the change has been gradual as the company has been moving away from its traditional catalogs since 2018 when it mailed out 50% fewer catalogs than the previous year.
For the future, the Swedish furniture giant is betting on digital content and especially a new app that it began testing last year. The app includes shippable content, product reviews, easier searching and browsing, and integrated AR functionality. The company also introduced EverydayExperiments.com last June, a new platform aimed at helping consumers digitally reimagine and design their homes.
And it seems to be working out well for IKEA. The company says its online retail sales increased some 45% worldwide this year.
Now about that IKEA catalog on your living room table. Keep it there, it’s now a vintage object of desire.
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