What Do Swedes Think of IKEA?

IKEA is an enormously popular furniture retailer founded by the Swedes in 1943. Since its founding, IKEA has grown to become the world’s largest furniture retailer and has retained that position since 2008. [1]

Most Swedes are ambivalent about IKEA. People in Sweden see IKEA as a great option for affordable furniture, but if they can afford better furniture than IKEA, they will purchase from better stores.

People appreciate that Swedish culture is represented but think the product names are silly. 

Swedes are proud of the achievements of a fellow Swede but don’t feel particularly connected to the company, especially as it grows.

While most people own at least one piece of furniture from IKEA, they do go to other stores for better quality furniture if they can afford it.

Also, see What Is There To Do In Sweden? to learn more.

building furniture
What’s IKEA famous for? See below

What’s IKEA Famous for?

IKEA is not only the largest furniture retailer in the world, but it is also an iconic store that has become part of popular culture.

IKEA’s internationalism is credited with its success.[2] This international appeal has been cultivated due to the company’s ethos and business model. 

IKEA is famous for its affordable, ready-to-assemble furniture, resulting in the IKEA effect, which refers to how people place a higher value on things that are self-assembled.

IKEA is also known for its labyrinthian showrooms that allow customers to browse a wide range of products. 

IKEA’s success story is unusual and dependent on several factors apart from its enigmatic founder, whose business savviness directed the company through hard times. 

The company decided to sell through showrooms rather than catalogs overnight. [3]

This contributed significantly to the company’s success, as people would browse through the clean layout that directed them the ‘long way’ through the store. 

The layout of IKEA showrooms encourages browsing, which leads to more purchases, benefits the company, and creates a unique experience for the customer. However, IKEA’s popularity lies primarily in the IKEA effect. 

The IKEA effect is a term ascribed to the cognitive effect that leads people to value things they have put together.

IKEA offers a wide variety of affordable ready-to-assemble furniture of reasonable quality. All these factors combined to create a store that became internationally marketable. 

Also, see Why Does Sweden Have a Small Population? to learn more.

IKEA furniture
Are Swedes proud of IKEA? See below

Are Swedes Proud of IKEA?

IKEA’s popularity may be ascribed to its affordability and unique market experience, but these were made possible by the company’s commitment to the Swedish ethos.

From the corporate culture of togetherness to the emphasis on hard work that led to DIY furniture assembly – IKEA’s culture and marketing are emblematic of Sweden. 

Most Swedes are proud of IKEA and how it represents Sweden and Swedish culture.

People do have reservations about the quality of the products, and many are exasperated by the names of products taking over Google search results. Still, Swedes are proud of the achievements of fellow Swedes. 

Many Swedes look at IKEA and its many showrooms as representing Swedish national culture that is now replicated worldwide.[4]

The simple and clean designs of the products became representatives of simple and clutter-free Swedish homes and the Swedish way of life. 

You can learn more about the people, places, and companies in this article about what Sweden is known for. 

IKEA presents stories of the Swedish way of living in ways that most Swedes can identify with.

The authenticity of the company’s representation and its commitment to Swedish values have reinforced people’s pride in the company. 

This is not to say that people see IKEA as the be-all and end-all of furniture. If they can afford better, people do purchase furniture from other stores, as most people recognize the limitations in quality when it comes to IKEA’s furniture and homeware. 

A point of national contention is how IKEA’s product names have taken over the search results.

Since IKEA products are named after Swedish towns and locations, searching for the location by name often throws up search results of the product rather than the location. 

Naturally, many Swedes are unhappy about their towns and lakes being used to name products like lights or toilet brushes. 

Additionally, people are overall proud of the achievements of the founder of IKEA, but they don’t feel particularly connected to the company.

As the company has grown into an internationally popular company, most people feel like it has little to do with them and their everyday lives. 

Also, see What Type of Government Does Sweden Have? to learn more.

Is IKEA famous in Sweden? See below

Is IKEA Famous in Sweden?

IKEA is an iconic brand worldwide, so it stands to reason that it would be just as popular in the country of its origin, even if its headquarters are now in the Netherlands.

While Germany has the most IKEA stores worldwide, Sweden is not far behind. 

IKEA is famous in Sweden, with over 17 stores spread across the country. Most people own furniture from IKEA and frequently visit the showrooms for affordable furniture and homeware.

IKEA is both an affordable and convenient option for most people in Sweden. 

In a population of about 9 Million people, 17 stores are a lot of stores. Most people can find multiple IKEA stores within driving distance, and the stores stock most home essentials. 

IKEA is ubiquitous in Sweden, and everyone knows to go to IKEA for their essentials. Regardless of what they might feel about the quality of the products, most Swedes see IKEA as having cheap furniture that is reasonably well designed.

The store is the first stop for people setting up new homes for the first time, but it is also a go-to option for older Swedes who recognize the usefulness of IKEA products and appreciate how simple and unfussy the designs are. 

IKEA is also an important part of the popular culture in Sweden, as it is around the world.

Stereotypes of women wanting to visit IKEA to the despair of their beleaguered husbands and the idea of an IKEA trip determining the success of marriage are part of Swedish culture as well. 


Swedes are ambivalent towards IKEA. Most see it as a convenient option and a good representation of Sweden but think the product names are silly.

Also, see Why Did ABBA Break Up? to learn more.

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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