25 IKEA Facts That Need No Assembly

IKEA is, by far, the most popular furniture retailer in the world. Started back in 1943 by a sevente...

IKEA is, by far, the most popular furniture retailer in the world. Started back in 1943 by a seventeen year-old Swedish boy, this store has grown into a megalithic company with revenue of almost €30 billion in 2014. With over 380 stores in 48 countries, millions of people have caught IKEA fever, flocking to the store every year to buy cheap, flat-pack furniture for their homes or to indulge in the store’s range of traditional Swedish foods, especially the meatballs. While IKEA has quickly entered our homes and our hearts, there’s a lot to know about this diverse company with a long history and creative marketing team.

In this list, we’ve assembled (pun intended) 25 facts about IKEA that you probably didn’t know – facts ranging from where it gets its furniture names to some of its clever marketing campaigns including being able to spend a night in an IKEA store to the reason why its stores are designed like a labyrinth. The company continues to grow and expand year-after-year, increasing profits, lowering prices, and even building its own city. If you’ve ever been caught up by IKEA mania or you just want to know more about the furniture and meatballs giant, you’ll love this list of 25 IKEA Facts That Need No Assembly.


IKEA buys up and uses about 1% of all commercially produced wood in the world, making them the third largest consumer of wood on the planet behind Lowe's & Home Depot.


Source: Business Insider & Thrillist, Image: Pixabay


IKEA pays one of the lowest tax rates in the world at just 3.5%. This is because the store is technically owned by a Dutch company in-turn owned by a Dutch non-profit organization. The legal structures are pretty complex, so suffice to say IKEA is technically the largest charity in the world - by net worth, not by charitable givings though.

money donation

Source: Neatorama, Image: Pixabay


IKEA's founder Ingvar Kamprad is the most successful Swedish entrepreneur in history. Starting out selling matchboxes, fountain pens, and nylon stockings as a kid, Kamprad began IKEA as a mail-order business when he was 17 years-old. Now one of the biggest furniture companies in the world, IKEA has revolutionized the furniture industry with its trademark flat-box furniture.

ingvar kamprad

Source: The Famous People & Telegraph, Image: haparanda via Flickr


Increasing efficiency every year has allowed IKEA to actually lower its prices rather than up them year-after-year as many other retail chains do. IKEA drops its prices by around 2-3% annually.


Source: Business Insider, Image: Wikipedia


You may have noticed the unusual names IKEA furniture has, but there's a pattern to them all. Garden furniture is named after Swedish islands, carpets after Danish place names, and fabrics and curtains after female names.

ikea carpet

Source: Business Insider, Image: Wikimedia


The reason IKEA products don't have product numbers is because Kamprad is dyslexic. Naming the items instead made things easier for him.


Source: Thrillist, Image: Wikimedia


In 2012, 690 million people visited an IKEA store - almost the entire population of Europe.


Source: Business Insider, Image: Wikimedia


One of IKEA's most clever marketing schemes was when they designed an entire house worth of furniture on a rock climbing wall. Celebrating their 30th store in France, visitors could scale the rock wall in what has to be one of the most exhilarating shopping experiences we've ever seen.

rock climbing wall

Source: Ad Week, Image: Pixabay


Upon entering the American market, IKEA saw their small flower vases become one of their most popular items. When they researched why the vases sold so well, they found out American consumers were using them as large tumblers.


Source: Telegraph, Image: Wikipedia


Since 1987, over 13 million mattresses in the United Kingdom were purchased from IKEA, meaning around one in five British kids alive today were conceived thanks to IKEA bedding. On Europe as a whole, it's one in ten kids.

ikea bed

Source: Business Insider & Thrillist, Image: koldre via Flickr


IKEA is such a massive company it has decided to build its own city near London. The 6,000 person town will have shops, schools, and theatres all fitted out with - you guessed it - IKEA furniture.


Source: Business Insider, Image: Wikimedia


Though stores often localize their product offerings based on where they operate, IKEA's offerings are so globally liked that 85% of their products are sold throughout their entire global network.


Source: Telegraph, Image: Wikipedia


IKEA is an acronym which doesn't have any significant meaning. It's the combination of its founder Ingvar Kamprad's (IK) initials, the farm where he was raised (Elmtaryd), and his hometown (Agunnaryd).


Source: Thrillist, Image: Wikimedia


The largest IKEA in the world is (naturally) in Stockholm. At 594,000 square feet, it's larger than 10 professional American football fields. The next four largest stores are all in China.

ikea sendai japan

Source: Business Insider & Thrillist, Image: Wikimedia


Visit an IKEA in China and you may be surprised to see it looks like a snooze fest. Chinese shoppers take product testing to a whole new level, taking naps on the mattresses and chairs. Local staff don't wake the slumberers unless they cause a problem.


Source: TIME, Image: Wikimedia


IKEA's virtual reality program is now available to users on the gaming platform Steam. Players can download the virtual reality experience and try out a new IKEA kitchen from the comfort of their own couch.


Source: Refinery 29, Image: Wikimedia


Elementary psychology tells us if you make something yourself, you like it more. This is part of IKEA's strategy of "build-it-yourself," beyond the cost savings they make by sending furniture in flat packs and having you assemble it.

ikea instructions

Source: NPR, Image: seanhobson via Flickr


Though their primary business is furniture, IKEA's food sales topped $2 billion in 2012, putting them on equal footing with Panera Bread or Arby's. Now who's got the meat(balls)?!

ikea meatballs

Source: Thrillist, Image: Wikipedia


Sometimes when a new IKEA store opens, they give away $150 vouchers for the first people to shop there. This led to the death of three people by trampling when a store opened in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


Source: Neatorama, Image: Wikimedia


If you've ever navigated through the maze that is an IKEA store, you've noticed the seemingly-structured and directed floor plan which can sometimes feel more like a sheep herding facility. Researchers at University College London discovered the zig-zag path is meant to disorient customers and put innumerable distractions (AKA impulse buy items) between a customer and their desired product.


Source: TIME, Image: Wikipedia


In 2014, IKEA teamed up with AirBnB in Australia to offer three groups of up to four people each the opportunity to spend the night in an IKEA store as part of yet another brilliant marketing scheme.

ikea bedding

Source: Ad Week, Image: Wikipedia


The reason IKEAs sell food is because Kamprad saw people visited the store and left without buying anything because they were hungry. The first food shop in an IKEA opened in 1960; today, the company sells over 150 million meatballs each year.


Source: Telegraph & Thrillist, Image: Wikipedia


IKEA has always been on the forefront of the design movement, but it was also at the forefront of the rights movement when, in 1994, it aired the first television commercial featuring a gay couple.

ikea gay couple ad

Source: Neatorama, Image: kargaltsev via Flickr


If you're really a superfan of IKEA, you can actually buy a fully-made IKEA house. No, we're not just talking about the furniture inside but the entire structure. Scandinavians can buy BoKlok, a four-bedroom home retailing for about $176,000.

ikea in london

Source: Neatorama, Image: Wikimedia


Demonstrating its global popularity and reach, IKEA's catalog is printed twice as many times annually as the Bible. At around 212 million copies in 29 different languages, the IKEA catalog makes up 70% of the company's marketing budget.

ikea catalogue

Source: Telegraph & Thrillist, Image: jimmybenson via Flickr

Source: TheList25


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