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IKEA Makes ‘Emotional but Rational Decision’ to Discontinue Catalogue After 70 Years

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IKEA says it will stop printing its famous catalogue after almost seven decades.

IKEA

A new press release explains that budget furniture giant IKEA has made the decision to end a seven-decade tradition and discontinue its catalogue, one of the world’s biggest annual publications, as shoppers move online.

At its peak in 2016, the IKEA catalogue was distributed in 200 million copies, in 69 different versions, 32 languages and to more than 50 markets. However, with changes in customer behavior and media consumption, the company says that fewer people are reading the publication today than in previous years as digital communication becomes more important.

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Consequently, the furniture retail brand has taken the “emotional but rational decision” to end the catalogue.

“For both customers and co-workers, the IKEA Catalogue is a publication that brings a lot of emotions, memories and joy,” says Konrad Grüss, Managing Director, Inter IKEA Systems B.V. “For 70 years it has been one of our most unique and iconic products, inspiring billions of people across the world. Turning the page with our beloved catalogue is a natural process since media consumption and customer behaviors have evolved. Looking forward, we will find new ways to engage and inspire the many people with our home furnishing solutions.”

Here are 5 facts about the catalogue:

  • 1951: Ingvar Kamprad himself put together the first IKEA Catalogue. The cover featured the MK wing chair in brown upholstery. It was printed with a total of 68 pages in Swedish and 285,000 copies were distributed across southern Sweden
  • 1998: The first “IKEA at the office” Catalogue launched on the internet, as a special edition, only showing furniture for business/offices. The ambition that year was to present the whole catalogue online, but due to the complexity with IT-systems the launch was postponed.
  • 2000: Successful launch of both a printed and digital version of the IKEA Catalogue.
  • 2001: E-commerce is launched for the first time in IKEA history, in Sweden and Denmark.
  • 2016: At its peak year, the IKEA Catalogue was distributed in 200 million copies, in 69 different versions, 32 languages and to more than 50 IKEA markets.

The company says the switch to end the publication was not a quick decision. IKEA says they have been actively “transforming how we reach and interact with our customers.” Grüss says the company will continue to “inspire many people through new ways, channels and formats.”

IKEA Canada says online retail sales increased by 41.9 percent over the last year, and the company’s main website welcomed over 178.5 million visitors since the start of 2020.

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