From ready-to-assemble furniture to kitchen appliances, IKEA has it all! This company is a top choice for many interior designers and homeowners because of its brilliant and inventive approach to furniture, home accessories, and other useful goods. But what else do you know about IKEA, besides their blue and yellow warehouses that hold space-saving furniture and cheap meatballs? We’ve pieced together some of the interesting facts about this homeware giant. Read on to learn 50 facts about IKEA.
Fact 1: IKEA was founded in 1943.
- It started as a mail-order business, then later turned into a furniture company. The first store was opened in Älmhult, Småland in 1958.
Fact 2: Ingvar Kamprad was the founder of IKEA.
- He was only 17 when he founded IKEA.
Fact 3: IKEA’s most popular product line is the MALM line.
- It offers a wide range of bedroom chests, drawers, and beds. People love it because of its smart, simple, and space-saving solutions, which IKEA is globally known for.
Fact 4: IKEA sources 20% of its raw materials from China.
- Poland, Russian, Sweden and Romania also provide raw materials to the company!
Fact 5: There are playgrounds at every IKEA store.
- IKEA has it all figured out! Now, parents can leave their children at IKEA’s fun and enjoyable playground while looking for new furniture or home accessories.
Fact 6: IKEA has sold 11.6 billion Swedish meatballs to British shoppers since it opened its first-ever UK store in Warrington, in 1987.
- Their meatballs are just as famous as their product lines. They’ve also sold 1.2 billion hotdogs too!
Fact 7: In 2012, IKEA had 690 millions of shoppers.
- That’s double the USA’s population for 2018.
Fact 8: Since IKEA’s founding in the UK, 1987, UK brand loyalists have bought a total of 12.8 million mattresses.
- That’s nearly one for every two households in the UK.
Fact 9: Kamprad decided to open a restaurant in an IKEA shop in 1960.
- He realized that many customers would often leave the store empty-handed because they were hungry from all the strolling and binge-shopping.
Fact 10: There are around 800 million cubic feet of items and units sold every year.
- With this immense volume, IKEA’s furniture delivery is said to cover more than 9,000 Olympic-sized pools.
Fact 11: IKEA had an annual revenue larger than Serbia’s GDP.
- They have $37 billion yearly profits, and the number is seen to increase in 2020.
Fact 12: One of IKEA’s over-the-top marketing schemes was the vertical apartment layout on a climbing wall.
- This was in celebration of IKEA’s 30th store in France in 2014. Visitors flocked the area and tried rock climbing on their colourful and psychedelic apartment layout using a safety harness.
Fact 13: 503,441 ‘Billy Bookcases’ were sold between September 1, 2012, and October 25, 2012!
- The ‘Billy Bookcase’ is the most successful furniture piece of IKEA. Apparently, 1 gets sold every 10 seconds!
Fact 14: The IKEA catalogue is translated into 30 different languages.
- It was originally printed in Swedish in 1951. But since it was considered as IKEA’s main marketing tool, they started translating the catalogue into different languages like English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and many others.
Fact 15: IKEA’s famous in-store meatballs were found to have traces of horse meat in 2013.
- IKEA issued a meatball recall in Europe after DNA studies revealed that one batch had traces of horse meat. It was believed to be a part of a wider contamination problem brought about by mischievous suppliers.
Fact 16: A psychologist from Santa Monica, Ramani Durvasula, tasks couples to complete an IKEA project together as part of her renowned couple therapy.
- The homeowner giant recognizes that shopping and assembling items may sometimes put a dent on relationships. Psychologist Ramani believes the same way, so she sometimes includes an IKEA shopping and assembling activity for couples in therapy. The result of this activity will then be discussed during counselling.
Fact 17: You can buy an IKEA flat-pack house.
- The ‘BoKlok’ is a housing concept developed by IKEA and Skanska where customers can enjoy prefabricated dwellings. They can build blocks of flats and terraced houses.
Fact 18: IKEA Heights was filmed with unauthorized access to the store in Burbank, California in 2009.
- The actors had hidden cameras and microphones on them while inside IKEA store. The episode featured shoppers’ varied reactions, and while it was amusing, the company stressed the concern for unauthorized filming.
Fact 19: In 2014, IKEA Malaysia held a contest to promote the reopening of one of its stores.
- The contest was done on Facebook. They were asked to dress and pose like their favourite IKEA product. Many people surprisingly joined the game and made convincing lamps. The winners were awarded gift cards.
Fact 20: Around 19,000 people showed up to IKEA Amsterdam for a game of hide and seek.
- The event caused turmoil, and it concluded with the banning of the game. It ended with a “no-hiding, no-seeking” policy.
Fact 21: The first flat-pack home was sold in Sweden in 1996.
- It was an effort to help homeowners cut significant costs from buying their first homes.
Fact 22: Guillis Lundgren, IKEA’s 4th employee, was the designer of the famed ‘Billy Bookcase’.
- His initial design was done on the back of a napkin in 1979. It was named “Billy” after IKEA’s advertising manager Billy Liljedahl who wanted “a bookcase just for books”.
Fact 23: In Beijing, China, customers love taking a nap on IKEA’s bed and mattress displays.
- Don’t be too surprised when you see clients curling up on a cozy IKEA display when visiting some stores in Beijing. This has become a habit, and IKEA says OK to it – as long as their napping clients aren’t disturbing other shoppers.
Fact 24: Kamprad, one of the world’s top billionaires, was known for being a modest man.
- He was once denied in the Businessman of the Year awards because he arrived on a bus, contrary to others’ extravagant vehicles.
Fact 25: A study from the Harvard Business School revealed that people who had to do some work to set up their new purchase tended to see the item as ‘greater value’, as opposed to those who bought ready-made items.
- Customers enjoy the little challenges that come with every KEA purchase. They’ll receive a ready-to-assemble flat packaging where they can set up with a screwdriver and a wrench. But all that sweat and tears have a sweet reward: a piece of furniture you’ll value a lot.
Fact 26: LÖVET was the first flat-pack unit in IKEA’s catalogue.
- It first appeared in 1956 when a customer had to take off all legs of a LÖVET table to fit it into a car.
Fact 27: They only use pictures in their user manuals.
- Unlike other companies with thick, written information manuals, IKEA keeps its manuals short, fun, and simple by only having “assembly figures” in their manuals. The main reason was for some cost-savvy efforts, as printed manuscripts can be costly. However, many clients from all over the world love IKEA’s refreshing manuals as the pictograms easier to understand!
Fact 28: There are more IKEA catalogues printed every year than Bibles.
- IKEA prints more than 203 million copies of its home furnishing catalogue every year (2017). There are about 300 pages, 12,000+ products and more than 285 people involved in every production.
Fact 29: IKEA has anthropologists that will visit customers in their abode and check how their universal designs fit the end-user.
- This is some of IKEA’s over-arching efforts in providing a better and more inventive way to please brand loyalists. They will send anthropologists to volunteers’ homes and even install cameras for long-term surveillance. Volunteers are rewarded with gift cards.
Fact 30: ‘IKEA’ is only an acronym!
- IKEA is an acronym to some of the founder’s personal history. “IK” stands for the initials of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. “E” is for Elmtaryd, the humble farm where he grew up on. And lastly, “A” is for his home village, Agunnaryd.
Fact 31: IKEA’s first American store opened outside of Philadelphia in 1985.
- But IKEA failed to capture the hearts of the American customers. They had trouble pronouncing the name, and IKEA’s products didn’t fit the American lifestyle. They marketed products in centimetres and curtains didn’t fit the typical American-sized windows.
Fact 32: When IKEA first opened their store in the U.S. people mistook vases for drinking glasses.
- Water glasses in IKEA were too small to fit the usual size of ice that the Americans use. Seeing that flower vases had a more suitable size, they bought it thinking it was a drinking tumbler.
Fact 33: When you enter IKEA, you feel confused and mesmerized.
- That’s because they have a well-planned layout! They make use of an increasing byzantine floor plan where shoppers feel hooked with impulse goods. Some customers compare it to that of a ‘corn maze’.
Fact 34: Every item at IKEA is named after an actual ‘Swedish word’.
- Home goods are usually identified by product numbers, but not in the case of IKEA , they use actual Swedish words. Kamprad was dyslexic and had lots of trouble with numerical codes.
Fact 35: IKEA’s stores have an average size of 300,000 square feet.
- That’s about 5 football fields!
Fact 36: IKEA opened a second store in the U.S. in the 1900s.
- When their first store outside of Philadelphia flunked the U.S. market, they didn’t open any stores in America within 5 years. IKEA began flourishing in the USA in 1997.
Fact 37: IKEA’s smallest and smartest store is a 10.5 x 8.8 cm web banner.
- It is 300 pixels wide and holds only up to 2,800 products. This IKEA’s way of reaffirming their commitment to saving space.
Fact 38: The world’s largest IKEA store is in South Korea.
- The IKEA store located in Gwangmyeong, Seoul Capital Area, South Korea expands up to 640,000 square feet. That’s bigger than 10 American football fields!
Fact 39: The first IKEA store outside of Sweden was in Norway.
- It was opened in 1963.
Fact 40: As of 2019, there are about 411 IKEA stores worldwide.
- Germany is the company’s largest market that boasts a total of 53 locations. This is followed by the U.S. with 50 IKEA stores.
Fact 41: IKEA distributed 2.5 billions of little wooden dowels.
- They were used in holding the furniture together. Similarly, they had distributed a whopping number of 50 million Allen keys.
Fact 42: Over 60 million hinges are distributed by IKEA in a single year.
- Hinges are the mechanical bearings used to connect two solid objects. Imagine the rate of IKEA’s item turnover!
Fact 43: IKEA is a known brand for home and furniture solutions without breaking the top-notch quality with its affordability.
- IKEA’s excellent design team likes to work from the price tag backwards. It’s one way to make sure that they are sourcing only the best quality materials for a price that fits every budget.
Fact 44: The founder, Ingvar Kamprad, began selling matchboxes as a child.
- When he was 17, he then moved on to fountain pens, cigarette lighters, and nylon stockings.
Fact 45: 1% of the Earth’s commercial wood supply is used by IKEA.
- More than 60% of IKEA’s sold products are derived from forest materials.
Fact 46: The IKEA Social Initiative shared more than 190 million dollars in 2018.
- IKEA Social Initiative is the largest corporate social-oriented program of the company. They have supported many donations and charity campaigns.
Fact 47: Kanye West wants to work with IKEA.
- In a BBC interview, he expressed his interest in working with IKEA by making and designing furniture. He tweeted in 2016 with, “my mind is racing with the possibilities…”, after visiting IKEA’s HQ store in Sweden.
Fact 48: IKEA has over 150,000 employees.
- IKEA had a disappointing employment history of using German and Cuban prisoners in the 1980s for their production. They already apologized for this disgraceful fact though.
Fact 49: There will be a small IKEA town in London.
- It will contain a hotel, school, theatre, shops, and of course, some flat-pack housing for 6,000 people.
Fact 50: IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad passed away on January 27, 2018, at the age of 91.
- Upon his death, he had an estimated net worth of $58.7 billion. He was the 8th richest person in the world.