After 70 Years, Ikea Catalog Is History

After a 70-year run, Ikea is shutting down its catalog in both its print and online versions as it shifts to a more digital and accessible selling strategy.

Ikea will honor the catalog’s history by distributing a final version in the fall of 2021. At its peak in 2016, Ikea distributed 200 million copies of the catalog in 69 different versions, 32 languages and 50 markets.

Still, consumer behavior and media consumption have changed, Ikea stated, resulting in less catalog use. So, Inter Ikea Systems B.V., which is the company’s franchise and retail component, has taken what it characterizes as the emotional but rational decision to end the catalog.

According to the retailer, the transformation into a more online-based retail structure is well underway with online sales last year increasing by 45% worldwide. IKEA.com garnered more than four billion visits, the company noted, improving online services and launching new apps. Over the past few years, Ikea has tested new formats, in virtual and physical environments, and ways to distribute the content that once would have been collected in its catalog. With insights from both customers and its retail operations, Ikea has determined it can help people plan for their household needs and aspirations using other and new tools.

“For both customers and co-workers, the Ikea catalog is a publication that brings a lot of emotions, memories and joy,” said Konrad Grüss, managing director, Inter Ikea Systems B.V. “For 70 years, it has been one of our most unique and iconic products, which has inspired billions of people across the world. Turning the page with our beloved catalog is in fact a natural process since media consumption and customer behaviors have changed. In order to reach and interact with many people, we will keep inspiring with our home furnishing solutions in new ways. We are not starting from scratch. We have been transforming many aspects of how to reach and interact with our customers, and the work continues to find new ways to amplify unique Ikea home furnishing knowledge, products and solutions in the best possible way, to inspire through new ways, channels and formats.”