Ikea’s not *just* another furniture store. It’s a meme in itself.
The 19th of this month marks the opening of India’s first Ikea store in Hyderabad, which follows a research project during which designers visited over 1,000 of the country’s homes to determine what styles to feature in their stores.
Designs for kitchens, for example, have been tweaked to accommodate Indian cooking styles, but some Scandinavian influences have been preserved to fit the taste of a more urban customer. The company is working with Rangsutra and Industree Foundation to help design their products.
The store is to be 4,00,000 square feet and will sell 7,500 products, including a children’s play land, and new Indian designs as well as classic Swedish ones.
The charm of Ikea is universal. Hit the unbearably vast warehouse, scope out the affordable yet attractive and high quality furniture, bring something home. Only to find that setting it up is a little more complicated than you thought. Odds are, you’ll end up with something that almost looks like the model in the store but is missing a screw or two. Cue the memes.
It should be frustrating, but everyone appreciates the charm. Going by how reasonably priced the products are, their short-term reliability is unmatched. Perfect to get through your bachelor’s degree in college, to put it simply.
People in India seem reasonably excited at this new development. Piya Pillai who’s recently returned to India after staying abroad says, “Yeah I’m a big Ikea fan, my family always buys from there in the states so I’m sure we’ll continue here.”
Student Anoushka Gupta also thinks it’s a great idea. “From what I know, Ikea has a pretty good selection, with varied styles and items and seem to cater to a large pool of buyers, so I’d definitely check it out.”
However, Ikea may or may not hold the same charm here that it does abroad. Understandably, the Indian market is different, more local and the people therfore more invested in their roots. According to Ashish Dhundur, who was formerly employed at PepperFry, Ikea can still work things to their disadvantage, “It can [do well] provided it understands the Indian psyche- we still like to own furniture which lasts at least ten years, if not lifelong.”
Ikea products, unfortunately, as of now are not meant for a lifetime, whereas those from companies like PepperFry are. Ashish believes Indians still carry ‘a certain sense of pride in owning solid wood or the likes’. In other terms, Ikea’s vision just might not match up with the Indian objective.
However, in his own words, “functional furniture or not, we are still very cost conscious.” And is that not what Ikea is all about?
(Written by Kieran Mehra)