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Life at Home Reports 6 August 2020

IKEA Pulse Report: Concept of home being radically redefined

The recent release of the IKEA Pulse Report #2 - Redefining a better Life at Home – focuses on people’s lives during a world pandemic. 

The insight is based on the everyday existence of 20 households across five countries and how their relationships with the home has been impacted. Jenny Lee, Life at Home Communication Leader, Ingka Group, writes below about the learnings and how both global and local issues are impacting people’s emotions.


Since 2014, IKEA has been building a better understanding of life at home through yearly Life at Home reports.

With the changing nature of daily life in 2020, IKEA has released two short pulse reports concentrating on live, ongoing insight to explore the impact of the global pandemic. A full report will then be released later this year.

In 2019, over 30,000 people took part in research for IKEA. Every year we gain detailed insight into people’s relationships with their homes. This year will be fascinating to see the findings in the backdrop of a pandemic and seismic shift to our daily habits.

As the peak of the pandemic has subsided and restrictions are being lifted, what has been really interesting to see in our pulse reports is that global issues are on our mind. At an everyday level, meanwhile, we are faced with hundreds of new choices and decisions that we are having to integrate into our daily lives.

We are seeing a world that is out of sync. Life outside the home is stressful, with different rules and restrictions in place. These can often change regularly and abruptly. A simple everyday gesture like wanting to hug a friend or to shake a hand, have become disjointed and disconnected.

With rising fear due to financial instability, eco-anxiety and social inequalities focused around Black Lives Matters, people are prioritising stability, reflecting on past decisions and how they want to future proof their home and well-being.

Jenny Lee Life at Home Communications Leader Ingka Group

We are starting to see the emergence of what we define as an unassuming sustainability mindset. It is when people start to recognise that they want to be more sustainable in whatever form they define that to be. For example, such as supporting local businesses or bringing nature into the home. They are both key staple components of daily life that people want to bring forward into the future.

Privacy vs security & comfort 
Emerging from lockdown is positive but it creates an uncertain future too. A lot of people actually feel more comfortable within the home because that’s the place where they can create their own rules and be themselves without having to second guess every action they take.In the first IKEA Pulse Report #1 – called ‘In the Messy Middle’ – it was found that both security and comfort were craved by households.

The IKEA Life at Home Report 2019 focused on the Power of Privacy and why that was so important. In fact, 88% of people surveyed expected their homes to provide privacy, while 35% admitted that not getting access to privacy caused anxiety.

With those findings in mind, and considering the global upheaval and how homes have recently become multi-functional for so many, we expected privacy to be one of the top emotional needs in lockdown.

Actually, what we learnt was that people found ways around the privacy issue. Privacy didn’t become the most important need; it became about comfort and security in particular. Households have quickly adapted to a more integrated way of living.

What is a home?
When we think about home, we don’t see home now – from our experience and having spoken to the 20 households – as just about a person within their four walls.

As this is a global pandemic, we’ve seen how actually being confined has made us appreciate that home is more than just about the walls. It is about a community and the global pandemic has made us recognise that it hadn’t impacted just one person, it has impacted everyone and we’re all sharing the experience at the same time.

The concept of home is therefore being radically redefined – what does home mean? Is it just the functional needs? Or is it more than just that? That’s what’s become important for people to consider about their relationships with their home.

As a result, people are re-evaluating their home relationship and reflecting upon their actual needs. They are coming back to the question of how they will future proof their homes and well-being going forward and what does a better life at home mean for them?

Therefore, the subject of the future is an appropriate focus of the IKEA Life at Home Report 2020. Arguably, this year has been more disruptive on a global scale than ever before in recent times.

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Related media assets

Photo IKEA Life at Home Pulse Report 2 front cover

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Photo Jenny Lee Life at Home Communications Leader Ingka Group

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