The IKEA story begins in 1926 when founder Ingvar Kamprad was born in Småland in southern Sweden. It was founded in 1943. The name is made up from the initials of the founder, and the first letters of the farm Elmtaryd and the village Agunnaryd in rural southern Sweden where he grew up.
Ingvar Kamprad was just 17 when he registered the IKEA name. At the age of five Ingvar Kamprad started selling matches to his nearby neighbours and by the time he was seven, he started selling further afield, using his bicycle. He came across the fact that he could buy matches in bulk cheaply in Stockholm and re-sell them individually at a very low price but still make a good profit. From matches he expanded to selling flower seeds, greeting cards, Christmas tree decorations, and later pencils and ball-point pens. Over the decades IKEA has been through a lot of phases starting from exploration of furniture design, self-assembly, advertising, the use of a catalogue and one showroom in 1940’s to operating in 41 countries. IKEA is a global destination store for home furnishing, appliances, ready-to-assemble furniture, home accessories and kitchen products. It is the world’s largest furniture retailer with more than 301 stores and 30 franchised units.
“Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea is to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional, home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible can afford them.”- IKEA
The majority of Ikea locations are under the market control of the INGKA foundation, a Dutch charitable organization. The company is part of the largest foundation in the world, with an estimated net worth of $56 billion US Dollars (USD). The company also partners with UNICEF and American Forests in community projects.
Founder Ingvar Kamprad stepped down as chairman in 2013, leaving the company in the hands of son Mathias. In 2011 his net worth took a drastic slide after his lawyers produced documents proving that he had irrevocably transferred the majority of his stake in Ikea to entities beyond his economic control decades earlier, later selling them the balance. But with the exception of his winery in Provence, Kamprad, 88, has historically shown little interest in the trappings of wealth. He reportedly prefers to fly economy and for more than two decades drove a Volvo until he was convinced it was no longer safe.The typical layout of an Ikea store includes one or more showroom floors for large pieces of furniture and various room sets. Small departments, such as lighting and textiles, are scattered throughout the departments. The bottom floor of most stores includes a large warehouse section where boxes of the displayed furniture are available for customer selection. The lower floor also features check-out lines and a section of Swedish imported food available for purchase.One of the unique features of Ikea are its restaurants. Rather than provide chain restaurant outlets, the company markets its own food in counter-service eating areas. Many store locations offer a variety of food selections, from full breakfasts to frozen treats and gourmet cakes. Often, food selections include Swedish delicacies such as Swedish meatballs and lingonberry soda. Following the company protocol, food for sale is usually extremely affordable.
If you’ve ever popped into Ikea for one thing only to emerge hours later, bewildered and loaded down with things you didn’t expect to buy, that’s no accident. While all retailers try to cultivate such an experience, Ikea seems to have a true knack for it. This is largely due to the setup of the stores and the amenities offered; with restaurants and daycare, it becomes easy to stay the entire day, and the store flow is set up so that you see and try almost all Ikea products.
In walking through an Ikea store, you may think that such a large store can’t be very energy efficient. But when you get to the checkout, you’ll be asked if you want to purchase a plastic bag for a nickel. While paying for disposable shopping bags is nothing new to residents of some countries, it’s not typical yet in the United States. That’s one part of Ikea’s plan to reduce waste and help the environment. A quick look around the checkout area might reveal other clues to Ikea’s environmental stewardship; recycling bins are present for customers to drop off used batteries, light bulbs and even the packaging that their purchases came in.
The above was just a small glimpse of IKEA, the history and how stuff works in IKEA.
Below are some interesting facts about IKEA:
1) It takes five factories across Europe to manufacture IKEA’s 10,000 item product line.
2) IKEA delivers over 250 million cubic metres of products each year. Zbaszynek, Poland is home to the company’s largest wood production plant.
3) Associates create 30 million tables, desks and wardrobes each year. In nearby, Nowe Skalmierzyce, COM 40, an IKEA Supplier, builds 3,000 upholstered pieces of furniture daily, including 900 Ektorp sofas
4) IKEA has sold over 40 million Billy Bookcases in the last three decades. Every week, IKEA’s automated manufacturing line creates 130,000 Billy bookshelves. Robots produce 10,000 bookcases daily.
5) Ikea sells one Billy bookshelf every 10 seconds. It is the company’s most popular product.
6) Ikea uses approximately 1% of the world’s entire commercial supply of wood.
7)Igvar kamprad, the founder of Ikea, has a net worth of $4.2 billion.
8) Kampard was once denied entry at a gala when he showed up to receive a Businessman of the Year Award because he had arrived via bus.
9) There are approximately 9500 home furnishing products in the Ikea range.
10) In a testament to their popularity, an estimated one out of every ten Europeans are conceived in an IKEA bed. Its one in five if you’re British, as stats show each household there owns nearly two of their mattresses. In the U.K., 1 in 5 people sleep on an Ikea mattress.
11) In 2012, there were an estimated 655 million visitors to Ikea stores.
12) Ikea products are named rather than numbered because founder Kamprad is dyslexic.
13)ikea has lowered its prices by an average of 2% each year since 2000.
14) The largest Ikea store in the world is located in Stockholm, Sweden. It covers 594,167 square feet, which is bigger than 10 American football fields.
15) Ikea was the first company to feature a portrayal of a gay relationship on one of its ads.
Hope this small glimpse of IKEA world has helped you understand the brand. You can follow my Pinterest Board for daily updates on IKEA : https://in.pinterest.com/lalittyabyshivani/ikea/