Is IKEA making a dumb mistake ending its catalog?
The year 2020 is the last year that IKEA will publish its big catalog. The publication, which was first printed in Sweden in 1951, is no longer seen as necessary to the furniture giant’s marketing efforts as more and more people seek out what they want online.
Konrad Grüss, managing director, Inter IKEA Systems B.V., said that many people inside and outside of the company have an emotional connection to the catalog, but that it was the right time to end its publication.
“Turning the page with our beloved catalog is in fact a natural process since media consumption and customer behaviors have changed. In order to reach and interact with the many people, we will keep inspiring with our home furnishing solutions in new ways,” he said.
Mr. Grüss said IKEA is ready to meet consumers where they will be most receptive.
“We are not starting from scratch,” he said. “We have been transforming many aspects of how to reach and interact with our customers, and the work continues to find new ways to amplify unique IKEA home furnishing knowledge, products and solutions in the best possible way — to inspire the many people through new ways, channels and formats.”
The furniture giant has seen a larger percentage of customers buying its products online rather than go shopping in its massive warehouse locations. The retailer reported that its worldwide online sales jumped 45 percent last year and that IKEA.com had over four billion visits. The company has introduced site and app enhancements to further enhance digital performance.
IKEA’s decision to end its voluminous publication puts it among a list of other retailers, including H&M and REI, that have cut back or ditched big catalogs in recent years for other print and/or digital alternatives. In the case of IKEA, the retailer will still publish a smaller book next year, just not the big catalog that people in dozens of countries have come to know.
- After 70 years, IKEA turning the page on the Catalog – IKEA
- REI scraps mail order catalog to publish a magazine – RetailWire
- H&M will cease printing its catalog after 39 years – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is IKEA making a smart move by no longer publishing its big catalog or is it a dumb mistake? Do you still see a role for retailer published catalogs at this time in history?