Founded in 1943, IKEA sells furniture and home accessories at affordable prices. Ingvar Kamprad started IKEA in Sweden when he was 17 years old. IKEA is an acronym for Ingvar, Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the farm Kamprad grew up on), Agunnaryd (Kamprad’s home County).
In the beginning, IKEA sold table runners, wallets, picture frames, jewelry, pens, and nylon stockings. Products were sold by mail order and out of Kamprad’s home until the first IKEA store opened in 1958 in Sweden. Furniture was not sold until 1948, and in 1955 IKEA began designing its own furniture.
Today, there are 278 IKEA stores in 36 countries including the US, Canada, Australia, Asia, and Israel. IKEA also sells products on their website, which as of 2005 had 275 Million visitors a day.
IKEA stores are known for their “one-way” layout, which forces shoppers to tour the store from start to finish, with only one primary path. IKEA is also well known for their food station – with the most popular item being Swedish meatballs. The food station often opens daily before the rest of the store and serves an affordable breakfast.
IKEA is kid friendly. Not only does the store boast environmentally friendly manufacturing, but the stores also have a play area for children with ball pits, slides and coloring stations.
IKEA also has an “IKEA Family” loyalty card in many of its stores. The card offers 25% off products, as well as discounts on food.
IKEA is able to offer products at affordable prices because many of the furniture items do not come pre-assembled – which greatly reduces the cost of the company’s modern products.
IKEA has one of the words largest charitable organizations. The company was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers by Working Mothers Magazine in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, IKEA made the list of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. In 2007, MaClean’s Magazine ranked IKEA as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
IKEA prints a quarterly magazine in 13 languages. The magazine, called IKEA Family Live, has a subscription base of 500,000.
IKEA has also had an annual catalogue since 1951. First printed in Sweden, the catalogue is now printed in 27 languages and distributed in 36 countries. IKEA considers the catalogue its main marketing tool – devoting 70% of their advertising budget to it. The catalogue is distributed by mail and in the store.
IKEA also has both print and television commercials. A 1994 IKEA ad was considered the first-ever gay advertisement. It only ran one time; however, IKEA has run other ads targeting the gay community.
A popular print ad campaign shows words in the floor plan of a house.
IKEA teamed with the Sims 2 to supply the games characters with furniture and accessories.
IKEA humorously appeals to young people with their first home, or dorm, through racy television commercials.
Many of IKEAs commercials are considered too scandalous to be run in the US, and many run in Europe have been banned. Moist of IKEAs banned commercials can be found on YouTube.