IKEA unveils its last ever catalogue as a podcast

In December 2020, Swedish furniture manufacturers IKEA said that it would be ceasing its print catalogue completely and 2021 will mark the end of all its catalogues. Now, as a special tribute for its very last production, IKEA has turned its 2021 catalogue into a podcast. Creating 13 chapters of sound bites for its consumers, the catalogue has been uploaded on its YouTube and Spotify platforms, as well as on audiobooks.com. IKEA touts its podcast as the number one audio catalogue for stylish design inspiration. 

"We know that by now, you’ve probably binged through every possible podcast, audio book, and every 'Best of 2020' playlist there is. So maybe you could use some new soothing sounds to put on while we all continue to wait for normal life to get back to... yeah, normal," the narrator explained in the introduction of the podcast. She added that the audio catalogue is made for the "master of multi-task", as consumers can listen while going about their daily activities. 

The narrator also described the podcast catalogue as a tour for the listeners' ears, as it takes listeners through the furnished homes of six different families, then dive into seven helpful how-to sections to guide listeners in their quest for at-home transcendence. The audio journey will also be peppered with some helpful to-do lists, the narrator added. 

A quick comparison by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw the podcast describing the pictures inside its visual catalogue page by page in granular details. It also reads out the captions on the digital book. IKEA's 2021 catalogue chapters that lasts 10 to 30 minutes each, and is accompanied with a summary of content that will be covered for every chapter. Its version on YouTube comes with a simple image that shows the chapter title, and a small gif illustration. IKEA said the audio book is produced as a tribute to the long history of IKEA catalogue, and is said to be filled with great home furnishing inspiration and knowledge in 2021.

IKEA said in December 2020 that it will no longer be printing catalogues after 70 years. IKEA's decision to stop publishing its catalogue came as the furniture retailer observed that customer behavior and media consumption have changed, and fewer people read the IKEA catalogue today than in past years.

In a previous statement, Corinna Schuler, head of corporate communication of IKEA Southeast Asia confirmed that both the online and print IKEA catalogue will be retired. Moving forward, she added that IKEA is focused on reinvesting and reinventing its ways of reaching a new generation of consumers in new channels and formats. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to IKEA to see if it will be venturing more into the podcast scene.

Currently in the Asia region, IKEA is running a Southeast Asia media pitch covering Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The appointment is for three years in each of the markets and the agency will manage media buying for online and offline media. In a statement then to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, head of marketing for IKEA Southeast Asia, Nigel Richardson, said it is tendering the media buying account in each of its markets and the company is open to having one agency cover more than one market. "We aim to secure the best service in each of the markets," he said then.

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