According to Reuters India, IKEA Chief Executive Mikael Ohlsson devoted much time to acquiring local knowledge of what consumers desire in their furniture, in order to give the company an edge. Through their accumulation of knowledge, they will accommodate to the needs of the cultural majority.
“Most people don’t really know and can hardly imagine that we visit thousands of homes round every store in the world every year,” he told Reuters at a store in Malmo in southern Sweden.
“We sit down in the kitchen and talk to them … That’s the way we try to learn and understand. ‘What are you annoyed with? What are your frustrations? What would you like to have? How much can you afford? What are your alternatives?'” he said.
In regions where there are smaller rooms, showrooms exhibit smaller. Beds are bigger in the U.S., but mattresses are firmer in China. “As we become more and more global and we expand more in China and we grow into India, we will need, probably, to have a wider range,” Gillian Drakeford, IKEA’s China retail chief said. “Then each country will be able to secure relevance by taking the part they really need. But of course we will still secure IKEA’s identity.”
“DIY (do it yourself) works very well in Europe and the United States; they are used to it. If you look at markets like China and India, people are not used to DIY. That is a reason why Home Depot has failed in China,” said Kantar Retail analyst Himanshu Pal. “Indians have been used to local furniture shop owners making entire furniture units and delivering it to your house.”