IKEA will start leasing furniture as it transforms its business model in an effort to attract more customers and reduce its carbon footprint.
The world’s largest furniture retailer will soon launch a trial program in Switzerland, with offerings that include several different types of furniture, such as desks and chairs for businesses.
“We will work together with partners so you can actually lease your furniture. When that leasing period is over, you hand it back and you might lease something else,” Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of Inter IKEA, which owns the IKEA brand, told Financial Times.
“And instead of throwing those away, we refurbish them a little and we could sell them, prolonging the lifecycle of the products,” he added.
The leasing program is the start of what IKEA hopes will be a series of “scalable subscription services” for a variety of furniture options. Loof said that even kitchens could be available for lease in the near future.
“You could say leasing is another way of financing a kitchen. When this circular model is up and running, we have a much bigger interest in not just selling a product, but seeing what happens with it and that the consumer takes care of it,” he said, adding that the company is now designing kitchens where the cupboard doors could be easily changed without replacing the entire setup.
“It’s interesting if you as a consumer say, ‘I can change and adapt and modernize my kitchen if that’s a subscription model,'” he said.
Loof added that the company ultimately wants to reduce its climate footprint by 15 percent, which is a 70 percent decrease per product by 2030, by finding a second life for its products. IKEA is also thinking about starting its own spare parts business so customers can find replacement components for furniture no longer available in its stores.