IKEA, Creating Products for a Better Life

doddi    February 27, 2017

With roots dating back to 1943, Ikea has a history of creating affordable home furnishings for families in over 50 countries around the world. Ikea has 500 stores worldwide.

Ikea’s vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people.  The Ikea business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at affordable prices.

Ikea makes it their mission to understand customer lifestyles. Before creating any product, Ikea works tirelessly to understand its customers so that products can be created with the sole purpose of making life easier and better.  Over the last several years, Ikea has incorporated various social media tactics to engage customers and to generate the feedback necessary  to continuously improve and evolve existing products and  to create new innovative products.

Ikea is committed to solving real needs for life at home and customer feedback is absolutely critical to the successful development of its products.  Ikea has been welcomed in the homes of countless families around the world in their quest to understand human behaviour patterns.




In its quest to understand its customers’ behaviour patterns, Ikea physically visits thousands of homes worldwide to study people’s routines and behaviour patterns.

Moreover, Ikea implements a variety of social media strategies to gather valuable information instrumental to a successful product development process.

 Life at Home Reports: are designed by Ikea with the objective of exploring life at home of people all over the world.  As a way to mine customer data, Ikea culminates data from a series of surveys of thousands of people from all over the world including Berlin, Moscow, London, Mumbai, New York, Stockholm and Shanghai. Insights from the surveys are revealed in the Life at Home Report.  The  aim of the report is to create awareness as to what better living is and to gather valuable customer intelligence that can be utilized to generate ideas in the product development process. The report was launched in 2015 and the various surveys have explored, for example, people’s general behaviour and routines around the home and socialization patterns around food.

Ikea has effectively used crowdsourcing  (the practice of engaging a crowd or group for a common goal) as a tool in the product development and design process.  An example of which was in 2012 when Ikea launched the Life Improvement Project which is a program designed to help inspire and empower people to improve their lives, as well as the lives of others in their community.  In the first year, Ikea essentially  developed a crowdsourcing site where people were encouraged to share photos and stories of their home improvement projects.   In 2014, Ikea Norway also used crowdsourcing to digitalize its full catalogue on Instagram. By setting up a crowdsourcing prize draw, customers were motivated to participate and take a photo of their favorite furniture piece in the catalogue and then upload onto Instagram with the hashtag #ikekatalogen.  Ikea was able to effectively use social media to gain followers and to once again gather additional customer intelligence.

Facebook, Twitter:  Ikea also uses social media platforms to gather and respond to feedback from customer’s on existing products.


IKEA has become the world’s leading expert on DIY as a result of its unwavering commitment to understanding their customers.  For decades, IKEA has successfully engaged its customers and has delivered on its vision of creating a better life for its customers.

IKEA is the quintessential innovator!  An innovator not only in product design but in its research and development process.  Its embracing of social media strategies has taken this global furniture designer to the next level.  With over 500 stores in 50 countries, through social media, IKEA has over 3,500,000 engaged followers in various social media platforms.

IKEA customers feel valued, engaged and empowered. The Ikea Effect has proven to be a strong positive force.  People tend to value a product more when they’ve been involved in its creation.  Not only are Ikea customers an integral part of the company’s product design and development process, moreover, Ikea customers are actively involved in the creation of their product by having to assemble it themselves.

Lessons for Others

The IKEA  product development process is rich with lessons for businesses that aspire to build brand and customer loyalty by actively engaging clients in the product design process.   Creating a significant repository of customer data is essential in the development of products that serve to better the lives of people.  Through data mining, IKEA can continuously improve existing products and create innovative new products.

Top IKEA lessons to consider:

  1. A valued customer is a loyal customer
  2. A valued customer’s opinions and feedback are heard.
  3. A commitment  to and obsession with understanding  customer’s needs, wants and behaviour patterns  is critical to the successful creation of any product or service designed to improve lives.
  4. Social media is an effective tool in gathering critical customer information.
  5. Crowdsourcing provides an opportunity for people to get involved and collaborate in a meaningful way.
  6. People give value to a product they helped create.
  7. People make a psychological connection when they are invested personally in a company and its product development and design process.
  8. It is more than just the product, it is about enlightening customers on how to live a more  healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

Organization: IKEA
Industry: Home furnishings
Name of Organization Contact: Janice Simonsen, IKEA Design Spokesperson

Authored by: Diana N. Oddi

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


Rudenko, A. (2013, October). How IKEA Norway has driven sales, while helped old furniture to find new homes. Retrieved from http://popsop.com/2013/10/ikea-norway-helped-old-furniture-buy-new-homes/

Popsop Staff. (2014, June 10). IKEA has researched morning rituals of the world. Retrieved from http://popsop.com/2014/06/ikea-has-researched-morning-rituals-of-the-world/

Wood, Sean. (2012, April 19).Crowdsourcing and “The IKEA Effect” retrieved from: http://seanwood.me/crowdsourcing-and-the-ikea-effect/

Hishan, Raja. (2014, August). Ikea unveils layout influenced by local lifestyles. Retrieved from: http://www.thestar.com.my/business/sme/2014/08/15/made-for-malaysians-ikea-unveils-layout-influenced-by-local-lifestyles/

Pymnts (2016, October). Ikea getting experimental and the power of the pop-ups. Retrieved from: http://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2016/ikea-getting-experimental-and-the-power-of-the-pop-up/