The New Yorker magazine recently published an exhaustive list of facts and figures, along with a bit of dirt, on our favourite Swedish giant. Written by Lauren Collins and entitled House Perfect, the article was as informative as it was amusing. I fancied myself a bit of an expert on IKEA before reading the article but there were some pretty amazing facts in there. I'll highlight the ones I liked the best here.
The best of the funny facts, the so-called "dirt":
- "One in ten Europeans is conceived in an IKEA bed.".
- "Americans keep sofas longer than they keep cars, and change dining-room tables about as often as they trade spouses".
- There is an "Official IKEA Is Hell on Earth" Facebook group.
- So many middle-aged singles were congregating in a Shanghai IKEA in recent months that management were forced to cordon off the area and designate it "match-making corner".
- The Market Hall is unofficially referred to as the "Open the Wallet section" of the store.
- Inside the IKEA museum, there is a filing cabinet storing unfortunate IKEA product names, including ANIS, DICK, FANNY and other words deemed offensive in various languages.
- As reading material, the IKEA catalogue is only slightly less popular than Harry Potter books.
- The Malmo City Theatre premiered "Ingvar! A Musical Furniture Saga." last year.
The best of the facts and figures:
- IKEA has 326 stores in 38 countries.
- IKEA offers more than 9000 products, divided into four "Style groups": Traditional, Scandinavian, Modern, and Popular.
- According to one executive, the company's vision is "to create a better life for the many".
- Cots are the ticket to building a lifelong relationship with core customers according to an internal report.
- All price tags should aim to the left in IKEA stores.
- The capital of IKEA is Almhult, a small village in the south of Sweden.
- Ingvar Kamprad is 85.
- The first IKEA store was opened in 1953.
- The name IKEA is an acronym: the I is for Ingvar, the K for Kamprad - the first and last names of the store's founder, the E is for Elmtaryd, the name of the farm where he grew up, and the A for Agunnaryd.
- The first store to open outside Sweden was in Oslo in 1963.
- In 1973, German executives opened a new store in Konstanz when they meant to open it in Koblenz.
- IKEA's corporate culture centre is called Tillsammans which means together in Swedish.
- IKEA is the world's third largest consumer of wood.
- The LACK table and the BILLY bookshelf are IKEA's most iconic products.
- IKEA invented flat-packed furniture in 1951.
- 197 million IKEA catalogues in 29 languages and 61 editions were printed last year.
- Recently (on the back of criticism), the IKEA foundation pledged to donate $62 million over three years to help Somali refugees in Kenya.
Photo c/o Mister Ian
And finally, did you know that:
- Bookcases get their names from occupations, curtains from mathematics and bathroom products from lakes and rivers?
- IKEA's designer begin with a price on their brief and work from there?
- Amy Poehler once said that IKEA is Swedish for "argument"?
And, as a parting note, my favourite quote from the article (only because I could relate so well!) was: ...my parents and I spent a long night trying to assemble an IKEA bookshelf with the guidance of only a stick man with a mute smirk.
Do you have any funny IKEA stories? Share them here: blog [at] bemz [dot] com or post in the comment section.