Ikea to axe print catalogue as digital drive accelerates

Ikea door drop 2Ikea is halting the presses on its print catalogue after 70 years of publication as part of the Swedish flatpack retailer’s plans to put digital at the heart of its business.

The company said the current edition of the Ikea Catalogue, distributed this summer, will be the last, although it insisted it would publish a book in autumn 2021, filled with home furnishing inspiration and knowledge.

Ikea said the move was in response to changing customer behaviour and media consumption, which has seen fewer people reading the catalogue either in print or online.

At its peak, Ikea distributed 200 million copies of the tome, in 69 different versions, 32 languages and to more than 50 markets. In the UK, it was also delivered in door-drop campaigns.

Inter Ikea Systems BV managing director Konrad Grüss said: “For both customers and co-workers, the Ikea Catalogue is a publication that brings a lot of emotions, memories and joy. For 70 years it has been one of our most unique and iconic products, which has inspired billions of people across the world.

“Life at home has never been more important. Over the last few years Ikea has tested new formats and ways to distribute the content of the Ikea Catalogue.

“Insights highlight that people are now planning the needs and dreams of their homes with alternative existing and new exciting tools.”

Grüss insisted that as this chapter closes, another one begins. He added: “We will now take the next steps to amplify the unique Ikea home furnishing knowledge, products and solutions in the best possible way. But we are not starting from scratch.

“Over the last few years, we have been transforming many aspects of how to reach and interact with our customers, and the work continues to find new ways, channels and formats to inspire and reach more of the many people across the world.”

In October, Ikea admitted that “online saved us” during the coronavirus lockdown, with its results showing that, in the 12 months to August 30, the retailer witnessed a 45% increase in online revenues, accounting for 18% of total sales, up from 11% the previous year.

The company has been playing catch with its digital operations and did not launch its first foray into online sales until 2018, through the likes of Amazon and Alibaba. The same year it hired Proximity London to handle the Ikea Family loyalty scheme, which has over 52 million members and operates throughout Europe, the Far East and the US.

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