As it turns out, the consumer aesthetic around fast fashion does not extend to furniture. Consumers are not looking for temporary furniture, according to IKEA, but good stuff that is built to last.
And so, IKEA is hoping to meet those demands, streamlining its manufacturing in the hopes that streamlined operations will help it be more efficient and more able to design higher quality, more durable furniture.
“Customers expect us to do more [on quality]. And nowadays, you can’t really make products that are throwaway: When you buy a sofa table, it needs to be built to last,” IKEA Group CEO Peter Agnefjall told Reuters.
As it turns out, millennial consumers are less interested in a relatively inexpensive furniture set that they have to put together like a jigsaw puzzle as they are in having more money to spend in their pockets and thus more options on what they buy. And that demographic shift could prove to be a tough one for IKEA — long the go-to shopping destination for the collegiate or post-collegiate student with reasonably good taste and an aversion to yard sale furniture and limited funds.
“The challenge for IKEA is to make people aware of their higher-quality goods whilst, at the same time, maintaining that democratic appeal,” Patrick O’Brien, content director at retail information specialist Verdict Retail, told Reuters.
Some of the coming changes include redesigns for wardrobes and dressers, which, at present, need to be attached to walls to operate safely. Sadly, consumers were not always aware of said instructions, and 29 million chests and dressers had to be recalled after several small children were killed or injured by them.