The IKEA Catalogue (US spelling: IKEA Catalog; Swedish: Ikea-katalogen) is a catalogue published annually by the Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA. According to Canadian broadcaster CTV, "IKEA's publications have developed an almost cult-like following online. Readers have found all kinds of strange tidbits, including mysterious cat pictures, apparent Mickey Mouse references and weird books wedged into the many shelves that clutter the catalogues."
First published in Swedish in 1951, the catalogue is considered to be the main marketing tool of the company and, as of 2004, consumes 70% of its annual marketing budget.
For the 2013 edition, 62 different versions of the catalogue was created for 43 countries. The 2010 edition was published in 30 languages.
Production and distribution
Containing over 300 pages and about 12,000 products, it is distributed both by mail and in stores. Each edition of the catalogue takes about 10 months to develop from concept to final product.
Most of the catalogue is produced by IKEA Communications AB in Älmhult, Sweden, the site of the original IKEA store and where IKEA Communications operates the largest photo studio in northern Europe (8,000 square meters in size). As of 2012, The studio employs 285 photographers, carpenters, interior designers and other personnel working full time on photo shoots. The catalogue itself is printed on chlorine-free paper of 10-15% post-consumer waste.
Worldwide, approximately 208 million copies of the catalogue were printed in fiscal year 2013, more than double the number of Bibles expected to be printed in the same period.
The company began experimenting with computer-generated imagery in 2005 by placing a single computer-rendered image of a small wooden chair in the 2006 edition of the catalogue. According to Anneli Sjogren, head of photography at IKEA, customers did not notice that the chair was computer-generated. As of the 2013 edition, 12% of imagery for the IKEA catalogue, brochures and website is computer-generated. That figure is expected to rise to 25% the following year.
Augmented reality was introduced in the 2013 edition of the catalogue. "X-ray" views through furniture compartments, videos, how-to guides and other interactive content could be accessed by scanning a symbol on the catalogue with a mobile device. The 2014 catalogue contains an augmented reality app that projects an item into a real-time photograph image of the user's room. The augmented reality app also provides an indication of the scale of IKEA objects in relation to the user's living environment.
In October 2012, IKEA was criticised for removing women from photos in the Saudi Arabian version of the 2013 catalogue.
IKEA Family Live
IKEA also publishes and sells a regular style magazine, titled IKEA Family Live in thirteen languages which supplements the catalogue. An English language edition for the United Kingdom was launched February 2007 with a subscription of over 500,000.