Ikea And What Comes Next For Printed Catalogs (pymnts.com)

It’s been a seven-decade-long run, but Ikea is formally saying goodbye to its printed catalog.

The decision was announced Monday (Dec. 7) as the Ikea brand continues to shift itself to digital, according to published reports. Catalog readership has resultantly declined precipitously over the past several years.

Published reports indicate that in the past year, Ikea has seen online sales increase by 45 percent. The number of visits to Ikea.com has likewise exploded to 4 billion in the last year alone, driven in no small part of the COVID-19 pandemic and consumer reluctance to transact in physical spaces.

In the past eight months alone, Ikea has upgraded its suite of apps to make it easier for consumers to complete furniture purchases digitally. The chain has also redesigned its physical stores’ footprint in some areas to be small and friendly to urban location placement.

The World’s One-Time Hottest Read
At a peak four years ago, Ikea distributed 200 million catalogs worldwide in 32 languages. The BBC once reported that the Ikea catalog was the world’s largest publication, with more copies printed than either the Bible or the Quran.

“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. “[But] media consumption and customer behaviors have changed, and Ikea is already increasing digital investments while volumes and interest in the catalogue have decreased.”

But although the catalog is signing off, Ikea announced that it won’t be forgotten. The chain plans to commemorate it with a book due out next autumn.

Not Everyone Is Giving Up on Catalogs
Of course, it’s not surprising that a retailer looking to focus on digital is exiting print. The same trend has been underway for the past decade or so in mass-market publishing. Print runs of books, newspapers and magazines have been more or less continuously on the decline as consumer preference for digitized content grows in the mobile era.

What’s perhaps eye-catching in Ikea’s case and for the world of catalog publishing in general is how inconsistent that pullback actually seems to be when one looks at retail. For every Ikea that pulls out of the printed-catalog business, there seems to be a digital brand that’s pushing forward with a new physical catalog all its own.

The hot catalog trend of the past two years, at this time of year in particularly, has been around toy sales. This year, Amazon released its second-annual toy catalog, joining printed catalogs from both Walmart and Target.

Like the catalogs of years past, these books are chock full of attractively photographed gift ideas for children — Lego sets, Barbie’s various dream houses, art kits, Star Wars toys, etc.
much more at source: https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2020/ikea-and-what-comes-next-for-printed-catalogs/

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