Home >Companies >News >Kids and colourful spoons fuel IKEA's first year in India

New Delhi: The world's largest furniture retailer is finding allies in Indian parents.

At its first store in the country in the city of Hyderabad that opened to shoppers last year, middle Indian households have taken a liking to the kids category of furniture—children’s IKEA in India has become number one in terms of volume of goods sold, trumping sales of such goods amongst all IKEA stores globally, the company said in a release on Friday.

Friday marked the completion of IKEA’s first year of store opening in India. Nearly 4 million visitors have since visited the signature blue and yellow box store that is spread over three floors, the company said in a release on Friday.

The retailer, popular the world over for its DIY furniture and functional designs, has set a target of attracting 100 million middle-class shoppers in India as it rushes to open more stores here.

“India is a long-term commitment for IKEA, and we will focus on fast expansion with a multi-channel approach," said Peter Betzel, CEO, IKEA India. “In the coming years, our goal is to meet 100 million customers with our beautiful and affordable home furnishings’ offer to make everyday life at home better and brighter," he said.

IKEA’s next store in India is due to open in Navi Mumbai. The company is yet to announce a date for the store opening, but work is rapidly underway.

However, online sales in Mumbai are expected to be launched before the retailer opens up its store there.

On Friday the company also announced its plans to launch online sales in Mumbai, followed by the markets of Hyderabad and Pune that will go online soon. IKEA has not yet announced dates for when shoppers in these cities will be able to place orders online but the move could happen soon. The retailer also plans to open smaller, compact stores with a limited range in India that will be located closer to densely populated areas, according to a news report in the Business Standard newspaper.

“Our next destination is Mumbai where we will soon start our e-commerce journey enabling us to meet many more customers, followed by Hyderabad and Pune going online," Betzel added.

IKEA’s emphasis on opening multiple sales channels including its signature big box stores, online sales, and smaller format outlets in city centres in India comes at a time when the retailer is globally pivoting to a more omni-channel model instead of relying purely on sales derived via footfalls in its big stores that are often located on the outskirts of big cities. As shoppers the world over, and even in India, ditch in-store shopping to buy goods on the internet, the retailer is taking note.

Kids furniture apart, the retailer said its top selling products in India now include spring mattresses, EKTORP or a 3-seater sofa, FIXA tool set, OFTAST plate, and KALAS spoons. To be sure, most IKEA furniture pieces draw their names from the Swedish language. The most loved product categories are beds and mattresses, bathroom, decoration and dining.

Interestingly its Rs15 pack of four coloured spoon (KALAS) remained the highest selling item in India, in terms of volumes, in a sign that the country’s thrifty shoppers continue to remain extremely value conscious.

Globally IKEA’s most sold products are the popular Billy Bookcase, POANG armchair, Klippan Sofa, Ribba photo frames, among others.

The past year has also helped the retailer better understand the needs of shoppers in India⁠—where home sizes are typically smaller, and shoppers prefer brighter colours compared to the shades preferred in European markets. Shoppers here are also value conscious.

“We are coming closer to understanding what our customers like, their preferences, challenges and frustrations of everyday life at home..." said Aurelie Raimon, store manager at IKEA Hyderabad.

IKEA's store in Hyderabad spread across 400,000 square feet (including parking) is divided into two parts: a market hall on the ground floor and a display showroom on the first floor. The store also boasts of a 1,000-seater restaurant selling rice dishes, meatballs, and coffee, etc. Over the past year the retailer has served a million frozen yoghurts, 1 million veggie balls and 2 million of its popular chicken balls.

In all, over 350,000 people have signed up for IKEA Family membership.

Also read: IKEA’s long road to India: A timeline

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