On 28 July 1943, Ingvar Kamprad, then only 17 years old, founded IKEA in the small town of Älmhult in Småland, Sweden. Now, IKEA is celebrating 80 years of entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and co-creation with a curious, humble, and positive outlook for the future.
“We look to the future with curiosity and humbleness – the past years have been unprecedented in so many ways. Our long-term purpose of creating a better everyday life for the many people, has never been more important and as we look to the future we will be guided by our foundation. We will continue to innovate, test and try new ways of meeting our customers and supporting many more people to live a more sustainable life at home. Together with our co-workers, customers, suppliers, partners and supporters we will continue to love the past and create the future. As Ingvar use to say: Most things still remain to be done – glorious future!“
– Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group
In the beginning, IKEA was a small mail-order business where orders were filled by a teenage Ingvar on his bicycle. The brand is now represented in 62 markets with 462 IKEA touchpoints, 700 million physical customer visits, 2.6 billion online visits, and more than 20 million IKEA app downloads*. The team of 231,000 IKEA co-workers worldwide help create a better everyday life for the many people.
‘’IKEA could not be where it is today without our co-workers, customers, suppliers, partners, and supporters. So many people have been part of building what we have achieved. I’m very grateful for each and every one, and today we all celebrate those achievements together. For the last 80 years, we have had the privilege of being part of the many people’s homes and lives – a role we humbly want to continue to have over the coming 80 years and beyond’’, says Jon Abrahamsson Ring, CEO Inter IKEA Group.
Assembling a better future, together
Curiosity about people’s lives, needs, and dreams at home has always been the starting point at IKEA. IKEA has a unique heritage of 80 years of innovation, iconic products, solutions, and commitments to people and the planet. To honour this heritage, IKEA is constantly trying to do things better, by staying close to the ever-evolving needs and desires of the many people.
“We are committed to designing products and value chains for the future. We need to find new ways to lower our prices without compromising on quality or letting our environment pay the price. We will continue to use all our creativity, leadership and make-do attitude. I’m proud of our past and optimistic about the future’’, says Fredrika Inger, Managing Director at IKEA of Sweden.
Ingka Group, the largest IKEA retailer, brings the IKEA range closer to people through city stores, new retail formats and online shopping and services.
Nytillverkad – a new collection to celebrate the design heritage of IKEA
The success of IKEA would have never been possible without its customers and co-workers. To celebrate 80 years of design, the IKEA team has returned to their archives to rediscover customers’ favourite designs. These iconic products will be reimagined in fresh, joyful colours and new materials in a collection called Nytillverkad. IKEA would like to thank every customer for the first 80 years and is now looking forward to the next exciting 80 years and beyond.
Some important milestones along the IKEA journey:
1943: Ingvar Kamprad, only 17 years old, registers a company in Sweden on 28 July 1943, which he names IKEA: an acronym of Ingvar Kamprad from Elmtaryd (the family farm), Agunnaryd (the local parish).
1948: Furniture is introduced into the IKEA range. In a brochure, Ingvar explains how the prices can be so low: ”Our prices – without a doubt the lowest in the country – are made possible due to high turnover, direct delivery from the suppliers, and very low costs.”
1950: A future icon, the IKEA Catalogue makes its debut.
1956: Ingvar and designer Gillis Lundgren solve the issue of damaged goods in transportation by removing the legs from the LÖVET table, and the revolutionary self-assembly concept and flat packs were born. Saving space and costs – then and now!
1958: The first IKEA store opens in Älmhult, Sweden.
1960: IKEA Älmhult introduces the first IKEA Restaurant & Café.
1963: The first IKEA store outside Sweden opens in Norway.
1973: The first IKEA store outside Scandinavia opens in Spreitenbach, Switzerland.
1983 – Ingvar seeks an ownership structure to create the best possible conditions for total independence and a long-term business perspective. He describes this as trying to give IKEA “eternal life”. His solution is to separate the ownership of the retail operation from the IKEA concept and the IKEA brand.
1995 – The first PS collection was launched at the Milan Furniture Fair. The furniture line called Democratic Design is developed using a three-dimensional design, good function, good quality and low prices. Later, Democratic design also includes Sustainability.
2018: IKEA commits to becoming a climate-positive business by 2030.
2018: Ingvar Kamprad passes away at the age of 91, leaving a strong legacy to continue to love and cherish.
2023: 462 touchpoints in 62 countries and 231,000 IKEA co-workers.
*According to figures for FY22 (1 September 2021 – 31 August 2022)
About Ingka Group
With IKEA retail operations on 31 markets, Ingka Group is the largest IKEA retailer and represents about 90% of IKEA retail sales. It is a strategic partner to develop and innovate the IKEA business and help define common IKEA strategies. Ingka Group owns and operates IKEA sales channels under franchise agreements with Inter IKEA Systems B.V. It has three business areas: IKEA Retail, Ingka Investments and Ingka Centres. Read more on Ingka.com