15 December 2020


Ikea has become the latest retailer to cancel its annual catalogue – thought print will still be a feature in its future promotional plans.

The Swedish home furnishings group announced that the 2020 catalogue would the last to be produced in the current style, after nearly 70 years.

Konrad Grüss, managing director of Inter Ikea Systems, said the catalogue had brought “emotions, memories and joy” since Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad put together the first catalogue himself back in 1951, with 285,000 copies of the 68pp catalogue distributed in the south of Sweden.

“For both customers and co-workers, the Ikea catalogue is a publication that brings a lot of emotions, memories and joy. For 70 years it has been one of our most unique and iconic products, which has inspired billions of people across the world,” Grüss said, and described the decision as “emotional but rational”.

At its peak in 2016 the catalogue was the biggest print job in the world, with 200m copies printed gravure in 32 languages and with 69 different versions.

In recent years the print run has reduced considerably, as online sales have grown and the relevance of producing an annual product catalogue has diminished.

Last year Ikea’s online retail sales jumped by 45% worldwide, and its website had more than 4bn visits.

However, Ikea appears unlikely to turn its back on print altogether. Commercial director Mark Pfeiffer commented: “What’s happening with all of these ‘big book’ customers is they are looking at a more tactical use of print, such as a range of intermediate catalogues. They are producing titles that are more suited to complementing their digital offering, driving people to websites is where print has its validity going forward."