You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ikea is getting rid of its iconic catalog, one of the most popular books in the world, ending a 70-year print run

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/7/2020 insider@insider.com (Grace Dean)
a man standing in front of a refrigerator: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images © Provided by Business Insider Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images
  • Ikea has made the "emotional but rational" decision to scrap both the print and digital editions of its catalog, it announced Monday.
  • Fewer people are reading the catalog and Ikea wants to focus on online sales instead, it said.
  • The catalog was first launched in 1951. Ikea now prints around 200 million copies a year, making it one of the world's most popular books.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After almost 70 years, Swedish furniture giant Ikea is scrapping its iconic catalog.

The company will no longer produce print and digital versions of the book, it announced Monday.

It's been touted as the most widely-distributed publication in the world, and more copies of the catalog are printed each year than the Bible or Quran.

Ikea's decision to scrap the catalog didn't come lightly. The company collected extensive customer feedback, it said, and decided to focus on its online store instead.

Ikea has seen a significant shift in consumer behavior thanks to the digital boom. In 2019, its online retail sales grew 45% worldwide.

Fewer people are using the catalog because of changing media consumption, it added.

a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table: Despite an online sales boom, Ikea is also scrapping its digital catalog, which it first launched in 2000. Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images © Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images Despite an online sales boom, Ikea is also scrapping its digital catalog, which it first launched in 2000. Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The company will release a book of home furnishing inspiration "as tribute" in fall 2021.

"For 70 years it has been one of our most unique and iconic products, which has inspired billions of people across the world," Konrad Grüss, managing director of the chain's global franchisor Inter IKEA Systems, said.

Ikea described the decision as "emotional but rational."

Read more: Holiday shopping might be happening online, but Amazon is embracing the power of print catalogs

Perhaps surprisingly, Ikea didn't didn't explicitly cite its environmental credentials as a reason for the decision.

The company has increasingly focused on sustainability as it works towards its goal of becoming carbon positive by 2030, and in November it started buying back and reselling UK customers' used furniture to counter the mass consumption associated with Black Friday.

This is the second time Ikea's catalog has hit the headlines this fall.

In October, Ikea reissued some editions of its 2021 catalog because it included an image that it admitted could reinforce racist stereotypes.

Each catalog takes nine months to design

The first 68-page Ikea catalog was released in 1951 by the furniture chain's founder Ingvar Kamprad, eight years after the company launched.

Its print run of 285,000 copies was distributed across southern Sweden.

The first Ikea catalog was printed in 1951. Sven Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images © Sven Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images The first Ikea catalog was printed in 1951. Sven Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Fast-forward to 2016, and the catalog reached its highest print run. Around 200 million copies were distributed in 69 different versions, 32 languages, and more than 50 markets. Since 2000, Ikea has launched a full digital version of the catalog, too.

The catalog as we now know it is a massive affair for Ikea, taking around nine months to design each year. It shoots the images in its own studios in Älmhult, Sweden, which is one of the biggest photo studios in Europe.

The Ikea Museum, which is located in the same city, includes an exhibition on the catalog's history.

Read the original article on Business Insider
AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Business Insider

Business Insider
Business Insider
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon