After a 70-year run, Ikea is discontinuing the publication of its printed catalog.
Ikea’s decision comes as catalog readership is in decline and the company becomes increasingly more digital. After initially resisting online shopping, the company was forced to embrace it during the pandemic. Ikea says its online retail sales increased by 45 percent worldwide last year with ikea.com reporting four billion visits. The company has also improved its suite of apps to make discovering and buying products easier, while opening smaller stores located in city centers meant to reach people where they live.
More copies printed than either the Bible or the Quran
At its peak in 2016, Ikea says that 200 million catalogs were distributed in 32 languages. A BBC documentary once claimed that the Ikea catalog was the largest publication in the world, with more copies printed than either the Bible or the Quran. The first Ikea catalog was put together by Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad in 1951.
“For 70 years [the catalog] has been one of our most unique and iconic products, which has inspired billions of people across the world.” said Konrad Grüss, Managing Director, Inter IKEA Systems BV. “Media consumption and customer behaviors have changed, and Ikea is already increasing digital investments while volumes and interest in the catalogue have decreased.”
Ikea says it will commemorate the catalog with a book launching in the autumn of 2021.