What are Ikea’s plans for India like? What is the famous Swedish furniture and home accessories giant planning in its bid to capture and appeal to a market that is considered not only a potent force for business, but also a decisive step in capturing the bustling Asian market?
Ikea’s plans for India, directly from the words of the India chief executive, Mr. Peter Betzel, perhaps point to a picture rosier than what most would have thought about.
It was interesting to hear the thoughts of the man who has already been holding key positions in a company that hardly needs an introduction. In addition to being Ikea’s Chief Sustainability Officer for India, he is Ikea’s the go-to man, or as they say, the man-in-charge for India operations, serving the region in the capacity of the firm’s CEO.
As a matter of fact, integrating sustainability into the key or core of all Ikea retail businesses in India has been a well-known fact for a long time.
Present in India’s capital last week for a Sweden business summit, Peter Betzel pointed to an expansive set of plans that are up ahead for the Indian market. He would highlight the fact that a lot more than just opening 25 stores in India forms the famous Swedish firm’s plans in what could actually be a vastly competitive market.
When contacted by LiveMint about the forthcoming plans and what lies ahead; whether doing business up to around INR 400 crore, a figure that Ikea already reached in FY 2019 was a standard operating plan for the firm, the following is what the CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer had to say
You cannot say it is standard. I think it is fantastic for India because it is right on the way of our expectation in a brand new market. We have worked for a long time to get here. There are many people who know IKEA because they have been living abroad or are generally interested, but we would like to create a better everyday life for many people who have not known IKEA so well. So, we need to introduce them to IKEA, build the brand and explain what we stand for. From that perspective, we had almost five million visitors in one year—which is amazing. It’s a fantastic number, something we don’t have in many other countries when we open our first store.
In addition to the above, Mr. Petez Betzel also spoke about the need of the hour being the company’s receptivity to change, if it is to tap properly into the Indian market. Although, globally, it is known that the brand has been pivoting to smaller stores.
He would further add, ” The world is changing fast due to digitization. While India, one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, comes with excitement, it has its own challenges in terms of society, affordability, shopping habits and accessibility. From an IKEA perspective, we decided one-and-a-half years ago that we need to transform our business model. We need to be much more accessible to many people, which means adopting a true omni-channel approach.”
But that said, as a matter of fact, what might be among the firm’s biggest challenges, within India would be to deal with a prominent presence of both established and rising names that are competing at the top level in the space of retail furniture, such as Peppfry, HomeTown, Urban Ladder, among the others.