HICKSVILLE, NY— Ikea has introduced new collections and individual home goods that, while demonstrably grounded in the retailer’s style, suggest an interest in making a statement with the next generation of customers.
Although it could be said that the retailer developed the PS and Spridd collections for appeal to younger consumers, they are only part of an introductory series that has been conspicuously merchandised across the retailer’s sales floors.
In addition to PS and Spridd, Ikea rolled out the latest edition of the Stockholm collection, which the company has reintroduced regularly since its launch in 1984. In its latest manifestation, the Stockholm collection is a curated group of 47 pieces constructed of natural and tactile materials such as rattan, hand-blown glass and ash, developed with a focus on Scandinavian modernity. With hand-blown glass and generous cushions included in the present collection, Ikea has once again positioned Stockholm as sophisticated, even luxurious home furnishings at good value.
The style is attractive to any consumer interested in comfort and design. Yet as its styling is both modern and Scandinavian, the Stockholm collection already possesses a design orientation that has proven attractive to Millennials. Factor in the use of natural materials and the inclusion of handmade items, and the Stockholm collection has in it a distinct appeal to broader Millennial sensibilities.
A number of Ikea introductions that have been hitting stores since the beginning of the year incorporate looks that provide the retailer with a greater style range, even if they still use Scandinavian design as a touchstone. Those introductions incorporate elements of trends, such as industrial, that have proven appealing to younger shoppers including a range of industrial-style, multi-functional furniture.
As for individual items, Ikea described the Lalleröd coffee table, a square, small-scale example of its kind with basket storage beneath the top surface, as industrial style “made in metal that’s treated with a clear lacquer.” Not only that, but the Vedbo armchair combined Scandinavian style elements including natural wood legs with a menswear-look upholstered seat that is consistent with mid-century modern design.
For summer, Ikea introduced the limited edition Jassa collection, which also put a premium on natural, raw materials that combine modern designs with traditional craft methods that speak to the Millennial interest in authenticity.
However, with PS and Spridd, Ikea targeted lifestyle trends that are closely associated with Millennials, including domestic mobility and a focus on experience.
“Both the PS 2017 and the Spridd collections are inspired for the need for a more mobile, flexible lifestyle reflected by the needs of urban Millennials,” said Janice Simonsen, an Ikea spokesperson. “The Spridd collection is also heavily influenced by music and concerts— tents, backpacks that can be used at outdoor concerts— and each style reflects a different style of music as interpreted by the designers.”
A limited edition collection, Spridd is an Ikea collaboration with British fashion designer Kit Neale. In the development process, the collaborators concentrated on movement as a design inspiration, as Ikea characterized it, particularly as undertaken by today’s nomadic youth. Music, as it celebrates youth culture and self-expression, became a starting point for Spridd designs. As a result, in conceiving individual products, the partners referenced experiences such as music festivals. Neale and Ikea manifest their inspirations in four different prints, each of which is an expression of a distinct music style.
In addition to its graphic qualities, the Spridd product assortment can support a broad range of everyday activities conducted at home and beyond with products including tableware, lighting, bean bags, storage boxes, towels, tote bags, posters and travel mugs.
Ikea launched its first PS collection in 1995. As with Stockholm, the focus is current Scandinavian design, but PS puts an emphasis on cutting edge designs while still taking into consideration Ikea’s standards of affordability and broad appeal. The latest PS collection includes 50 products created by 17 Ikea designers around the world.
Each Ikea PS collection has a unique theme, the latest being Designed by Free Thinkers for Free Thinkers. In consequence of the theme, the collection puts a value on flexibility and freedom in application as expressed through everyday use around the home. The PS Collection is for consumers who want to push the boundaries of the status quo, who refuse to live a work-eat-sleep-repeat lifestyle, who choose to move around and can make do with smaller spaces, who live life on their own terms and choose freedom and the possibilities that come with it.
Although that may be a tall order, Ikea set about designing from that theme in part by tapping technology in a couple of different ways. The PS collection offers a 3D-knitted armchair using an industrial process typically used to produce comfortable footwear and a three-piece self-watering plant.
However, a core consideration was mobility and associating products with a portable lifestyle. As a consequence, the collection includes a folding love seat and a similarly formulated accent seat that, although for indoor use, are reminiscent of outdoor furniture. Consumers who embrace the indoor/outdoor lifestyle could readily arrange either chair or both outside, at least temporarily, as could those who expand their scaled-down domestic environments by making use of available external spaces.
Ikea also is keeping things simple in the PS collection that, besides folding furniture, also includes a no-assembly storage unit. Flexibility and color also are important in the PS collection so the knit chair comes in a trending gray color, as do several other seating items, but also in a rich maroon. A deeply small table in white or rich red, one that Ikea designates a coffee table but which could function as an end table or bed stand as well, folds and so can be hung on a wall or in a closet. A love seat with high arms and back actually consists of two corner chairs that consumers can position separately if desired.
Indeed, to tie them even more closely to everyday occasion and lifestyle, Ikea is expanding beyond its usual home furnishings and housewares territory, offering t-shirts in the Spridd collection and quick prep food, including Nordic whole grains, spice mixes and instant beverages, in the PS Collection.
In a store tour reviewing the latest Ikea introductions, Lynn Montuori, marketing and public relations representative for Ikea’s Hicksville store, said the designer of the folding coffee table, which is another item that could easily be carried out of doors for use, took specific inspiration from a real world example of flexible thinking.
“I met the designer of that table, and he said he was inspired in Asia where, all of a sudden, different restaurants would pop up in the middle of the day,” she said. Restaurant staff would pop up and would simply unfold tables in front of passersby to create an instant eatery, then later fold them again when the meal service ended. The designer, Jon Karlsson, figured that consumers who need to use space flexibly could use such a feature for their own purposes.
“So the whole concept was a quick, pop it up, have a party, put it away type of deal,” Montuori said.
Although Spridd takes its inspiration from music, the collection also takes cues from everyday situations people experience. For instance, a tent in the Spridd collection, while perhaps not suitable for overseas accommodations, can provide a degree of shelter at a music festival,
“The Spridd collection. It’s fun, it’s funky, it’s colorful. It’s geared for young 20s or teens,” Montuori said.
Ikea, which for years introduced Americans to the Scandinavian lifestyle, and Swedish meatballs still are available at the stores, now is introducing the lifestyle of modern Millennials into its stores, and with some enthusiasm. In doing so, the retailer is adapting to a marketplace where consumers increasingly expect retailers to conform to their personal lifestyle expectations.