This interesting article explains some of the work that goes into creating IKEA's annual catalogue, highlighting the importance of adjusting your offerings to suit different cultures, regions and expectations. IKEA produce 72 variations of their famous catalogue, reflecting the work carried out by the ethnographers in understanding what 'life at home' looks like around the world, for example in showing more compact kitchens in the Chinese compared to the American version, reflected the spaces that people live in.
It is attention to detail such as this that has helped IKEA become the largest furniture retailer in the world, something that we can all learn from when building global businesses or working with different people around the world.
For 67 years, the IKEA catalogue has served as a product showcase, design inspiration and manifesto for the 74-year old furniture company’s grand vision of creating a “better everyday life for the many people.” But “many people” means many different versions of the good life. Therefore the 324-page catalog, a herculean production that eats up 70% of IKEA’s annual marketing budget, must be also customized for different regions and religions around the world.