Ikea bets there's gold in building your furniture for you

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 11, 2019 - Duration: 01:53s

Ikea bets there's gold in building your furniture for you

Swedish furnishings giant Ikea is accelerating a drive into services, including assembling your flat-pack furniture for you, and maybe one day designing your home decor too.

Julian Satterthwaite reports.


Ikea bets there's gold in building your furniture for you

Ikea wants you to do less of this: the dreaded furniture self-assembly.

Now the Swedish furnishings giant is accelerating a push into services after it acquired odd-jobs app TaskRabbit in 2017.

Its so-called "taskers" can wield the Allen key for you, for a fee of course.

According to some early numbers, the service could be paying off.

Reuters' Anna Ringstrom is in Stockholm: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, ANNA RINGSTROM, SAYING: "One indication that it's working well, this services push, is that TaskRabbit has, in the first year since they were integrated with Ikea, seen their overall volumes more than double, and the specific service category of furniture assembly has grown from two percent of their volumes to ten percent." Rivals like Walmart and Wayfair offer something similar through rival app, Handy.

Furniture assembly is just part of the response at Ikea.

It may expand TaskRabbit into interior design and furniture repair.

The firm is also opening smaller city-center outlets, after deciding millenials won't drive to out-of-town megastores.

It's even thinking about renting its furniture on a subscription basis.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, ANNA RINGSTROM, SAYING: "So services is becoming a battleground for these companies, and what Ikea is thinking is that they will have an edge if they can offer these kind of aftermarket services at an Ikea budget price." The potential prize is huge.

In the U.S. alone, the home furnishing market is worth about $280 billion a year and for all its size, Ikea has just two percent of that.

If it can take the the pain out of making shelves and tables it could be a win-win for Ikea, and its customers.

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