The IKEA Catalog Is Dead. Long Live the IKEA Catalog.
For years, the favorite furniture of young people in search of something simple, affordable, and stylish came from the iconic Swedish furniture company IKEA. But the company that represented forward-thinking design always carried a little nostalgia for the old days — it was slow to come into the idea of online shopping and even its mobile apps were designed around enhancing the in-store experience rather than replacing it until the middle of last year. Most of all, the company still remained centered around that staple of yesteryear: the paper catalog (or, at least, that was true until today). After 70 years, the company announced on its website that it will cease printing and distributing the hard copy and digital version of its famous catalog.
The company explains that the decision is part of the ongoing transformation to make IKEA more digital and accessible, buoyed by last year’s increase of online retail sales by 45%. “Customer behavior and media consumption has changed, and the IKEA Catalog has been less used,” says the post, calling the decision “emotional but rational.” They don’t specify exactly what it will be replaced by, instead saying that they are “transforming many aspects of how to reach and interact with our customers,” and are looking at new solutions, channels, and formats.
The catalog has run since Ingvar Kamprad put out the first 68-page copy to Southern Sweden in 1951, growing to a worldwide peak of 200 million copies in 2016, in 50 markets including 69 versions in 32 languages. The online version of the catalog joined in full in 2000. IKEA’s own museum shows what the catalog has looked like through the years — including digital version of all of the Swedish catalogs.
For those that loved the catalog, though, IKEA won’t be leaving you alone with your thoughts: The company plans to print a book next fall featuring “great home furnishing inspiration and knowledge.”