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DESIGN & STYLE

IKEA Is Ditching Its Printed Catalogue After 70 Years

In 2016, during the publication's biggest run ever, 200 million copies were printed.
By Sarah Ward
March 27, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
March 27, 2021
  shares

Everyone has at least one piece of IKEA furniture in their house. Let's be honest: we all have more than that. And, when deciding which items to buy from the giant Swedish retailer, we've all consulted its thick printed catalogues that come out every year and give us all a big list of things that we suddenly want — and convince ourselves that we need — to purchase. From 2021, however, flicking through the weighty tome will no longer be a part of browsing through and buying the company's flatpack wares. After a whopping 70 years in circulation, the publication is being retired.

The reason? IKEA says that both customer behaviour and media consumption have changed, its online sales increased by 45 percent worldwide in 2020 and its website received more than four billion visits over the same period. Given that the world spent more time at home last year — likely browsing the chain's website to look for ways to liven up our homes in the process — that's hardly surprising.

Seven decades is a hefty run, and that only captures part of the IKEA catalogue's history. When it was first printed in 1951, there were 285,000 copies — all made available only in the southern part of Sweden — and the publication had just 68 pages. Jump to 2016, the biggest year in the tome's lifespan, and 200 million copies of the much thicker text were distributed — in 69 different versions, 32 languages and to more than 50 markets.

The company will still be releasing a book in-stores in 2021 that'll allow customers to get ideas for furniture purchases and interior decoration choices — and to celebrate the old catalogue's history, too — but it won't be the printed guide that everyone currently knows.

If you're not quite ready to farewell the publication, the chain's US branch has actually released its 2021 catalogue as a podcast, which you can listen to below:

IKEA will stop printing and distributing its catalogues from 2021. For more information, head to the Swedish retailer's website.

Published on March 27, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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