IKEA parent company promises to hand data control back to customers

IKEA's parent company Ingka Group has made a "data promise" to its customers, in a bid to develop a set of principles and be transparent to its customers. Through this move, Ingka Group aims to provide customers with understanding, control and ability to make decisions about their data. According to the parent company, this "customer data promise" is the company’s approach to ensure that it is putting people first in all data-driven processes.

Customers will see a centralised data control panel in the app, where users can change and personalise their inspirational feed and get contextual access to their data settings. Ingka Group is also developing functionalities in the IKEA app, which will be released in April in France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Spain.

Barbara Martin Coppola, chief digital officer, Ingka Group said that for many years, companies have been collecting customers’ information, building intelligence on it, and extracting value because they could. However, Ingka Group now takes a stand and asks whether companies should indeed continue this practice.

"Companies sometimes are operating as if customer data was their own information. It is time to have a win-win relationship for people and companies around their own data and give control back to the many people," she added. According to Coppola, IKEA will also establish a dialogue around people preferences and give control back to them, and is committed to ensure people feel safe online as they do at home.

Ingka Group is the franchisee for IKEA in US and Europe, while Ikano Asia oversees the furniture giant's operations in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Marketing has reached out to Ikano Asia for a statement as to adoption of a similar stance. According to IKEA's recent financials, it exceeded SG$1 billion to SG$1.21 billion in revenue across Southeast Asia in 2019, as opposed to 2018's revenue which sat at SG$1 billion.

The Singapore market contributed SG$341 million, while Malaysia generated SG$495 million and Thailand SG$374 million to the overall sales. The retailer also saw 98 million new visitors to stores and shopping centres across the Southeast Asia region. IKEA also recorded 51.7 million visits to its websites with new navigation and inspiration, a 16% increase from 2018. In September 2019, IKEA Southeast Asia moved its regional creative account from long-time partner BBH Singapore to TBWA\\Singapore. For a period of three years, TBWA\\ will be responsible for most of the brand’s creative work including integrated campaigns, store opening campaigns, digital and social communications across Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.