IKEA bids goodbye to iconic print catalogue after 70 years

As part of its digital transformation efforts, worldwide IKEA franchisor Inter IKEA Systems has decided to cease publication of its IKEA catalogue after 70 years. This comes as the furniture retailer see that customer behavior and media consumption have changed, and fewer people read the IKEA catalogue today than in past years.

According to Corinna Schuler, head of corporate communication of IKEA Southeast Asia, both the online and print IKEA catalogue will be retired. "We are focused now on reinvesting and reinventing our ways of reaching a new generation of consumers in new channels and formats," she added. 

In a press release, IKEA said its catalogue has over the years become an iconic and beloved publication, as well as an important success factor for IKEA to reach its consumers. However, the retailer is now looking to be more digital and accessible, while embracing new ways to connect with more consumers. As a tribute to the long history of IKEA catalogue, IKEA will make a book available for customers in the stores that will be filled with great home furnishing inspiration and knowledge in 2021.

IKEA’s move towards digitalisation come as it sees positive results for its online activities. According to the furniture retailer, its online retail sales last year increased by 45% worldwide, while its website IKEA.com welcomed more than four billion visits. At the same time, it is added that IKEA has improved digital services, and launched new apps for a better IKEA experience for its consumers.

Konrad Grüss, managing director, Inter IKEA Systems, said: “Over the past few years, IKEA has been transforming many aspects of how to reach and interact with our customers, to meet customers wherever they are. Now the work will now continue to amplify the unique IKEA home furnishing knowledge, products and solutions in the best possible way - to inspire the many people through existing and new ways, channels and formats.” He also said that ceasing publication of the IKEA catalogue is an emotional but rational choice, and that the IKEA catalogue has been one of the company’s most unique and iconic products.

During the last few years, it is said that the company has tested new formats and ways to distribute the content of the IKEA catalogue. A wealth of knowledge and insights from both customers and the IKEA retailers have been collected and considered in the decision to say goodbye to the IKEA catalogue eventually. IKEA has also found it clear that inspirational home furnishing content is where the magic happens and it aims to continue inspiring and helping people to plan their needs and dreams at home with existing and new exciting tools. 

The IKEA catalogue was first published in 1951, where 285,000 copies of the 68-page catalogue were printed and distributed in Sweden. In 2000, IKEA launched both printed and digital versions of the IKEA catalogue. At its peak year in 2016, the IKEA catalogue was distributed in 200 million copies, in 69 different versions, 32 languages and to more than 50 markets.

IKEA has also recently ventured into eCommerce scene, with its Japan counterpart releasing its first-ever branded apparel collection titled "EFTERTRADA". The collection offers simple aesthetic with minimalistic designs, and includes water bottles, t-shirts, bath towels and hoodies in white, accented by IKEA’s signature blue and yellow logo. The limited collection will be available in stores from 10 December and online from 17 December. The items are on a while stocks last basis.

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