After about 70 years, Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is burying its tradition of printed catalogs. Customer behavior and media consumption had changed, and at the same time the catalog was being used less and less, the company said, explaining the move. "In the future, we will reach the many people through new ways, interact with them and inspire them with our interior design solutions," says Ikea manager Konrad Gruss.
It said the decision came amid the current transformation toward digital forms of customer engagement. In the past year alone, Ikea’s online business has increased by 45 percent worldwide. Likewise, the web presence Ikea.com website has received more than four billion visitors. Ikea has also been present on mobile platforms for a long time with various apps, such as the augmented reality application Places, which allows for test placements of virtual furniture in the space.
200 million copies at the peak
According to the press release, Ikea catalogs can look back on a long tradition: In 1951, founder Ingvar Kamprad compiled the first one, which was published in 285 copies.000 was distributed in southern Sweden. In 2016, it finally reached its highest circulation year with 200 million copies. In Germany, the market with the highest sales, 23 million catalogs were distributed to consumers last year. The current and probably last catalog has a circulation of only 8.5 million copies.
Ikea is by no means alone in phasing out its catalogs. Other retailers have also largely abandoned the print world: Mail order company Otto will print its rough product catalog for the last time in 2019.