The IKEA Catalog is one of those books you just can't put down -- and perhaps you shouldn't, unless you have a very strong table.
The monstrous tome that arrives every August/September is filled with nearly 400 pages of furniture and design ideas, making it a truly hefty read. But it's apparently worth the weight: More than 200 million copies are sent out annually across the globe. To put that into perspective, an estimated 100 million Bibles are sold or given away every year.
Published since 1951, the catalog is IKEA's main marketing tool, taking up 70 percent of its marketing budget. IKEA does extensive research on all 72 regions where it delivers its book, looking at everything from household sizes to personal habits, in order to customize specific sections of the catalog. For example, because Chinese kitchens are usually smaller than those in the West, the same holds true for the kitchens portrayed in the catalogs sent to China.
The IKEA catalog's popularity is so widespread that in Iceland, residents have to specifically ask not to be included in the nationwide delivery. Iceland's postal headquarters is regularly inundated with calls from folks who want to know when their copy will arrive.
- IKEA is an acronym of Ingvar Kamprad (the founder), Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (his home village).
- IKEA's products are given the same name as other Swedish proper nouns; for example, all bathroom items are named after rivers, bays, and lakes.
- IKEA's designers start with a price and then build a product to match.