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Catalogues charm year after year

​​The printed catalogue has been a cornerstone of the Ikea concept for decades. The Swedish furniture giant published its first catalogue in 1951.

Published: 2/2/2014 3:00 PM

Photo / Text: Lasse Arvidsson / Niina Streng

​"The main objectives of the catalogue are to build the Ikea brand, to steer people to Ikea stores and the Ikea online store, and to offer inspiration for home furnishing,” says Stefan Svensson, who is in charge of paper procurement for Ikea’s printed products.

50 times around the Earth
With the furniture chain’s global expansion, the number of printed Ikea catalogues has grown tremendously. The most recent edition, the 2013 product catalogue, reached a total print run of 212 million copies. Placed one after the other, the pages of these catalogues would circle the Earth more than 50 times. Or alternatively, if these catalogues were stacked in one big pile, they would weigh about the same as 500 jumbo jets.

This printing volume makes the Ikea catalogue a mega-project that involves around ten paper suppliers, twenty printing houses and dozens of binderies.

One of the paper suppliers is Stora Enso, which has been producing catalogue paper for Ikea for many years, since the 1980s at least. The paper supplied by Stora Enso has varied from year to year between 20 000 and 50 000 tonnes.

The Ikea catalogue is, at least for the time being, the most-printed product in the world. Its annual printed volume is double that of the Bible.
 “We estimate that in 2012 we reached one fifth of the global population through our catalogue and other printed products,” Svensson says.