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Is IKEA a welcome new neighbour? The time salad dressing caused real turm-oil in global markets and the lowdown on Coupang, South Korea’s Amazon.


More copies of the IKEA catalogue are printed annually than the Bible. 10% of Europeans were conceived in an IKEA bed. On average, every house in the world has a piece of IKEA furniture.

The Swedish retailer is a superpower. From bookshelves to meatballs to flat-packed houses, the US$45b IKEA does in revenue isn’t all too surprising. With 445 stores worldwide, let’s investigate what happens to a community when Ikea comes to town.

A decade-long study looked at how new IKEA stores impact jobs and wealth in Swedish municipalities. They concluded that communities with a new blue box sitting on the outskirts of town saw a 17% increase in retail employment. Moreover, locals’ purchasing power increased by 20%, a likely byproduct of competition driving down prices. Interestingly, neighbouring towns were shown to be negatively impacted. Their retail revenues and purchasing power decreased, indicating IKEA-towns became magnets for shopping traffic.

Away from economics, IKEA has been proven to influence the way we think. A Harvard-based study by world-famous economist Dan Ariely discovered the “IKEA Effect”. The researchers found flat-packed furniture was adored more than ready-made furniture by owners. Simply, self-made products are more valuable; the sense of gratification from constructing a table you will use every day. As well as a cost-saving exercise, it’s an excellent tool for promoting brand loyalty.

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