Higher quality lowered the price
We want all our customers to be able to live in a more energy efficient way. That's why we decided to develop a LED bulb of high quality which could only cost 1 €. It was a tough task for the development team who struggled with every last detail until they were close to giving up. But then they discovered an unexpected solution...
Most countries in the world agree on at least one thing: Energy consumption must decrease if we are to reach the climate targets which we've agreed to. And we must all work together to achieve this. That's why IKEA took a decision in 2012 to phase out all other light sources such as halogen bulbs and only sell energy efficient LED lighting. Three years later we were one of the first retailers in the world to achieve this goal.
At IKEA it was a fairly simple choice for us since a LED bulb uses approximately 85% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. This means that a city with 7 million inhabitants which completely switches from incandescent to LED consumes the same amount of energy for its lighting as a city with only 1 million inhabitants using incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs also last 20 times longer which means fewer bulbs need to be manufactured – meaning less waste when they break.
Low price without compromises
But we wanted the choice to be easy for our customers too and that's why we needed to find a way to lower the price of LED bulbs – without compromising on quality or how long they last. Our founder Ingvar Kamprad was also involved and even set the bulb's price tag: 1 €.
Paulina Pajak works as a Product Developer in the Lighting department and recalls how the task initially focused on quite traditional product development.
”We looked at everything, from parts to design and production, to see how we could streamline and keep costs down without affecting the quality. It went well but we couldn't get under 1.50 €. It actually felt quite impossible”.
An unexpected solution
The deadline for the task was getting closer, and Paulina and her colleagues were close to giving up. But then they decided to look at all the small details one last time. New meetings and tests with suppliers were booked in. This led to an unexpected realisation:
”We found that by selecting parts of a higher quality for the LED part, we could get rid of certain parts in the bulb's power supply, and thereby end up with a lower total cost”, says Paulina, who’s still a little amazed that more expensive parts actually resulted in a lower total cost. And yes, the team reached the goal of 1 €.
”We managed in the end since all of those involved saw the great value in making good and energy-efficient lighting available to more people”, explains Paulina. ”Compromising on quality just to lower the price never crossed our minds”.