After 70 Years, IKEA Disassembles Both Print and Digital Catalogs

In what the company termed an “emotional but rational” decision, Inter IKEA Systems B.V., the worldwide IKEA franchisor, will discontinue both the paper and digital versions of its catalog. The Swedish print version debuted in 1951, with 285,000 copies distributed in southern Sweden. The digital version debuted in 2000, and at its peak in 2016, 200 million copies were distributed in 69 different versions, in 32 languages and to more than 50 markets.

“For both customers and co-workers, the IKEA Catalog is a publication that brings a lot of emotions, memories and joy,” said Konrad Grüss, Managing Director of Inter IKEA Systems B.V. in a statement. “For 70 years it has been one of our most unique and iconic products, which has inspired billions of people across the world. 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.”

The company is positioning the catalog’s departure as part of IKEA’s digital transformation, noting that last year online retail sales increased by 45% and received more than four billion visits. The furniture retailer has been expanding both its digital touch points and capabilities: in March 2020, IKEA opened a virtual store offering 3,500 IKEA products and home furnishing solutions on Alibaba’s Tmall platform. In October, IKEA partnered with Google Cloud as part of an initiative to harness AI for better customer recommendations and to launch 3D visualization design tools.


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