IKEA history - how it all began


The following history shows how over six decades IKEA went from the woods of southern Sweden to being a major retail experience in 40 countries/territories around the world.
 
The IKEA story begins in 1926 when founder Ingvar Kamprad is born in Småland in southern Sweden. He is raised on 'Elmtaryd', a farm near the small village of Agunnaryd. Even as a young boy Ingvar knows he wants to develop a business.

1920s


At the age of five Ingvar Kamprad starts selling matches to his nearby neighbours and by the time he is seven, he starts selling further afield, using his bicycle. He finds that he can buy matches in bulk cheaply in Stockholm and re-sell them individually at a very low price but still make a good profit. From matches he expands to selling flower seeds, greeting cards, Christmas tree decorations, and later pencils and ball-point pens.

1940s-1950s


The roots of a furniture dealer. Ingvar Kamprad is entrepreneurial in developing IKEA into a furniture retailer. This period sees the exploration of furniture design, self assembly, advertising, the use of a catalogue and a showroom to reach the many people.

1960s-1970s


The IKEA concept starts to take shape. New IKEA stores open and hero products are developed such as POÄNG and BILLY bookcase. It is a time where concept takes shape and is documented in Ingvar Kamprad's The Testament of a Furniture Dealer.

1980s


IKEA expands dramatically into new markets such as USA, Italy, France and the UK. More IKEA classics arrive such as KLIPPAN, LACK and MOMENT. IKEA begins to take the form of today's modern IKEA.

1990s


IKEA grows even more. Children's IKEA is introduced and the focus is on home furnishing solutions to meet the needs of families with children. The IKEA Group is formed and responsibility for people and the environment is seen as a prerequisite for doing good business.

2000s


IKEA expands into even more markets such as Japan and Russia. Everything for the bedroom and kitchen is explored and presented in co-ordinated furnishing solutions. This period also sees the successes of several partnerships regarding social and environmental projects.