Iconic Ikea catalogue scrapped after 70 years

·Features and Health Editor
·2-min read

Swedish furniture giant Ikea will officially stop printing its famed annual catalogue, as customers moved to digital alternatives, ending a seven-decade long tradition.

The iconic catalogue offered shoppers a snapshot on contemporary living, and reached peak popularity in in 2016, when 200 million copies in 32 different languages were distributed worldwide.

Catalogues are displayed at a store of the Swedish furniture giant Ikea
The Iconic Ikea catalogue is no more. Photo: Getty

But with fewer people reading the printed catalogue and online shopping soaring, the retailer said it had made the “decision to respectfully end the successful career of the Ikea Catalogue”.

“For 70 years it has been one of our most unique and iconic products,” Konrad Gruss, Managing Director at Inter Ikea Systems, said in a statement.

“Turning the page with our beloved catalogue is emotional but rational.”

ikea catalogues
The catalogue has been produced for 70 years. Photo: Getty

The very first catalogue was put together by the Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad himself in 1951, and printed to make just 285,000 copies, which were distributed around the southern part of Sweden where the company was also started.

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Scrapping the physical catalogue is part of Ikea's transformation “to become more digital and accessible”, the company said while noting that online sales had increased by 45 percent worldwide last year.

The last one to be distributed was the 2021 version that shipped this year and was printed in 40 million copies.

In keeping with this new digital age, Ikea Australia announced last month the opening of ‘its smallest store to date’ with the launch of the brand-new Ikea App.

Replacing the old app, for the first time customers will be able to search, shop and buy Ikea products easily on their mobile or tablet device, with the various delivery options available including Click and Collect.

Customers can also use the Ikea app on the go, or as handy guide to help navigate through the store.

Stock availability can be checked in advance, or while on the floor, and the location finder means shoppers can head directly to the aisles they need.

“We’re hoping the app provides an enhanced shopping experience for our customers, whether at home, on the move or in-store,” Giovanni Rutigliano Digital Manager for Ikea Australia, said in a statement.

Combined with the introduction of Ikea Customer Data Promise, we want customers to develop a relationship with Ikea based on trust. The Ikea App is taking its first step on a digital journey of continual improvements and technology upgrades as we learn more about our customer’s needs.”

Additional reporting by AFP.

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