Ikea to Discontinue its Print Catalog
Swedish furniture giant Ikea is ending production of its famous catalog, saying the thick compendium of affordable sofas, knickknacks and housewares will leave "a phenomenal 70-year legacy." Shoppers aren't using the catalog like they used to, said Konrad Grüss, managing director of Inter IKEA Systems B.V., the worldwide Ikea franchiser, citing changes both in the way people consume media and how they shop for home items. He added, "Ikea is already increasing digital investments while volumes and interest in the catalog have decreased."
It was an "emotional but rational decision," the company said.
Total Retail's Take: The timing of this decision is curious. While true, consumers are engaging brands more often in digital channels, the print catalog has been viewed by many retailers, including Ikea, as a vehicle to drive activity in other channels, namely physical stores and e-commerce sites. With consumers opting to shop online more than ever, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's surprising to see Ikea remove a marketing tool that's proven to drive customers online to make purchase. In fact, one might think a retailer like Ikea would mail more catalogs at this time to compensate for diminished traffic levels at its brick-and-mortar stores.
Having said that, print catalogs are expensive to produce and mail, and while Ikea didn't come out and say this, eliminating catalogs could be a cost-cutting measure, first and foremost, as the retailer looks to tighten its belt. Whatever the reason, there are disappointed Ikea customers, who have grown to love the catalogs they received in the mail from the furniture retailer.
"The catalog is essential for planning and WAY better than the website!" the most-liked comment on Ikea's Facebook post says. "I looked forward to mine each year. This makes me sad. ..."