IKEA Furniture Gets a Second Life

Discussion
May 14, 2009
George Anderson

By George Anderson

It’s certainly not news
that consumers from countries around the planet love IKEA’s home furnishings
and low prices. Now, it seems that the love of IKEA goes on after the initial
sale with consumers willing to snatch up secondhand items, as well.

In Sweden, a new online
marketplace appropriately named I Love IKEA (www.iloveikea.se)
is looking to buy and sell used furniture from the international retailing
giant. The company intends to expand to the rest of Europe in the near
future.

According to a report
on the Springwise website, buyers can search for available items by geography
or product category. I Love IKEA claims over 20,000 ads appear every month
in print and online in Sweden alone for used IKEA goods.

Discussion Questions:
What do you think of the opportunity around a site for secondhand goods
from a respected retail brand such as IKEA? Are there other retail brands
that could benefit from a similarly focused approach?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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13 Comments on "IKEA Furniture Gets a Second Life"


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George Anderson
Guest
12 years 3 days ago

Editor’s Note: Just to be clear, I Love IKEA is not affiliated with IKEA.

Gregory Belkin
Guest
Gregory Belkin
12 years 3 days ago

IKEA’s second-hand site idea, I LOVE IKEA, is brilliant. The folks at IKEA know that one of the few bright spots in today’s tough economy is online commerce. Couple that with promoting low-cost, used merchandise and advanced use of SEO to promote products, and you have the recipe for a real winner.

Industry research has proven that ecommerce is not suffering at nearly the same pace as brick-and-mortar retailers. And, even if they are not buying like they used to, consumers are still searching the Web for good deals. If IKEA and others can push low-cost goods into this behavior pattern, they are likely to do really well for themselves.

Charlie Moro
Guest
Charlie Moro
12 years 3 days ago

I would be concerned with having a discount of my main line business as a competitor. It is one thing to have people want to see used items in an eBay or Craigslist scenario, but to have an actual discount offering as a standalone business would seem to erode the primary brand.

Marc Gordon
Guest
Marc Gordon
12 years 3 days ago

What an amazing concept! What gets me though, is how they can find IKEA furniture that’s durable enough to be in decent condition to sell.

Ben Ball
Guest
12 years 3 days ago

Put me in the fan club for this idea. Anytime you have a strong enough brand to command this kind of interest, you know you are on the right track. Similar clubs or sites exist for certain product lines (example: The Wagonmaster for refurbished Jeep Wagoneer fans) but this is the first I’ve seen for a retail brand.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
12 years 3 days ago
This is a fantastic idea (if the furniture holds up). I know someone who just moved from one apartment to a larger one. They were furnished by IKEA. One of the problems that they have is that all of the pieces bought for the original apartment don’t exactly fit in the new one. With this site, they can look for matching pieces to fill in and sell off pieces that don’t fit. This is also a boon to students as they can upgrade from milk crates to some almost real furniture. Could the automobile resale business do better with a consolidated used car (pre-owned) website? I believe so. How about Tiffany’s? There is a certain part of the jewelry business that is fashion. The site could provide an outlet for someone to sell their current piece to buy a new one or could provide a less expensive opportunity for someone to get into a Tiffany. The internet provides many sites for buying/selling/trading used products from books to computers. However, for a brand to take control… Read more »
Lee Peterson
Guest
12 years 3 days ago

Brilliant! Location will be everything, but so far, they have made no blunders in that category.

It seems this idea would work really well in smaller spaces in either urban or college environments, which could be a new avenue for growth for them as they’re doing none of that. Good to hear they’re into continuous improvement.

Marge Laney
Guest
12 years 3 days ago

I love IKEA too! It’s a wonderful brand that really nails the value proposition. I’m not so sure though that an online IKEA resale site would work here. I guess they don’t have garage sales in Sweden.

Ted Hurlbut
Guest
Ted Hurlbut
12 years 3 days ago

IKEA items have long been a staple on Craigslist. It’s highly identifiable, inexpensive, and a great fit for many urban, space constrained customers. The I Love IKEA concept has merit, but they will be in direct competition with boards like Craigslist.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
12 years 3 days ago
Sorry to throw in a spanner but this idea sounds to me like a bit of profiteering. Apart from sharing Marc Gordon’s surprise that anything sold by IKEA could stand up to being sold secondhand, I have grave reservations about the company’s commitment to selling online. They have only recently made this option available in the UK BUT the website is very clunky, the range of products available online is very limited and the delivery charge is unbelievably ridiculously out of order. I wonder what they will charge for delivering secondhand goods or if that is a matter for buyer and seller to negotiate. Going back to the question of durability, IKEA stuff comes as flatpack; whether it is up to transporting once assembled depends on the assembler. What may look OK on a website may not arrive in the best condition. Using craigslist or some other site generally means buyers are taking their chances but buying from IKEA’s own site implies (to me, at least) an element of the retailer supporting its brand so… Read more »
Stuart Silverman
Guest
Stuart Silverman
12 years 3 days ago

I don’t get it.

My rule with IKEA furniture is not to expect it to last more than 3-4 years.

2nd rule – don’t expect to move a piece of IKEA furniture–either room to room or house to house–and expect it be in the same condition as when you started. Over time it seems to conform to the place where it’s sitting.

It’s just part of that disposable society mentality.

On the other hand, we just installed an IKEA kitchen that comes with a 25 year guarantee–which is a great way to dispel my qualms about buying anything IKEA for the long term.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
12 years 3 days ago

In the spirit of this article, I’ll offer up mostly “used” comments: I would second–third?–Marc/Gene’s comments (at least on reputation…I’ve never actually bought any furniture from IKEA) and expand on what Bernice offered: this would seem to be a concept very much dependent on the numbers coming out right (how much of a bargain is a $24.95 desk going to be when it comes with a $118 s/h charge?)

Mark Lilien
Guest
12 years 2 days ago

George’s comment explains that I Love IKEA isn’t owned by IKEA. But most of the comments above assume the opposite. So it’s not clear if the site will help or hurt the brand. And I can’t read Swedish, so the site’s content is a mystery to me. I assume IKEA’s market share in Sweden far surpasses its share in the US, so the site might address a meaningful market.

Strong prices for used goods: this helps support new sales. Ask any car dealer. Or any real estate broker.

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