IKEA Becomes Cheap in China

IKEA successfully built the global consistent image of cheap furniture. Now, it successfully bring the same image to Shanghai, China. IKEA furniture is really cheap for local residents.

When I was in university (around 1998), IKEA’s image is super good design + super unreasonable price. We talked about joke that how IKEA can sell the colorful PAPER boxes at 59 RMB. It was ridiculous for most people at that time. We don’t think a paper box is that expensive.

However, IKEA’s products were so appealling to me, as a newly graduated student in 1999 that I spent my first month salary to buy a Billy Bookcase. It was the first furniture I bought. It was about 840 RMB (100 USD), I remember.

At that time, most products sold in IKEA was made outside China. I can seldom see something with label “Made in People’s Republic of China”. Maybe it is part of the reason why they are so expensive. Now, the majority of products there are manufatured locally.

Turning Point

Before IKEA opens the new store, IKEA started to decreases its price. This champaign has lasted for more than one year.

On Oct 21, 2002 (thanks to my blog) that I can still remember when I bought them), I bought some more Billy Bookcases. The same model only cost me about 450 RMB, almost half of the price.

Yesterday, I was surprised to see the same Billy Bookcase drops to 340 RMB already. It is almost the same story for all the other IKEA furniture I have purchased.

The recent IKEA’s on sale campaign is astonishing. A set of flower picture that was sold at 19 RMB now only costs 1 RMB. Hey. IKEA is on sale, as more as 95% off! I believe IKEA intentionally put this product as the first article in the store people can see – so creating an atermsphere of big on sale….

Cheap but…

With the drop of price, unfortunately, is the drop of quality. Before, I never worried taking the bad product home. But now, I have to examine carefully for anything I put into my shopping cart, to make sure it is not broken. I begin to complain the poor quality of IKEA. For example, I cannot install the curtain pole because of the hole is a little bit smaller than required. The newly bought GLANT table has two obvious area of color-difference.. I am not sure whether I have been moving out of the target customer segment (as I was when I just graduated), or the quality does drops.

Something I like in IKEA

  • The underground parking area. It is among the best in Shanghai. I like the colorful pole and clear direction of the garage. It is higher than other garage. The most important thing is, it is almost empty and always free.
  • Icecream. The IKEA icecream is only 1 RMB and is sold at the checkout area. It is so nice to treat myself and Wendy some icecrease after successfully follow the big arrow and go through all the areas of the big IKEA store. It is said that the one way policy is part of the reason why IKEA keeps low price. Since the customers have to see everything once they enter the store, they have to buy something every time. :0)
  • Return. I like the return policy of IKEA. No question was asked. Just give the product to the counter and get money back.
  • Meal. Now IKEA starts to serve lunch and dinner. Ha. I often say, “hey, Wendy, why not have dinner at IKEA?”.

© Jian Shuo Wang

More IKEA archives:

27 thoughts on “IKEA Becomes Cheap in China

  1. :-D I haven’t been to any IKEA stores in Shanghai yet but I remember the store in Singapore. Like you said, it’s really like a giant maze in which shoppers must complete the entire course pre-designed by IKEA in order to exit. We are like preys falling to a trap lol.

  2. and the availability of cheap ice-cream and hotdogs is to give shoppers the idea that stuff in cheap and good. this is stationed outside the checkout counters. so after paying a heft amount for the shopping you look at the ice-cream and hotdogs and think “so cheap!” ;)


  3. I like eating hotdog in IEKA,hehe. It’s very cheap. As I remember, a hotdog plue a cup of Cola cost 5yuan at all. And the Cola is free for refill. Haha :-)

  4. intrested in purchasing kitchen baskets for a 3 renovation projects ,please let us know the price list of all ,the accesories in tabulation



    14 Rest House Crescent Road, Bangalore 560 001 (Telephone : 51122757)

  5. IKEA is now in Guangzhou too. It’s quite exciting and cheaper than the IKEA in Hong Kong. It’s a very popular shop, for sure. I love their kitchen stuff.

    cheers from Ruth

  6. Dear Wang,

    I am so happy to find this website of yours while looking for IKEA related information in Shanghai. Well, I am doing my graduation project on IKEA Shanghai from Sweden. Wondering if you could help me with an interview on consumer opinion about IKEA in Shanghai.

    Please email me. Thank you in advance.


  7. Grace, I believe many people on this blog will be interested in this interview. I don’t think I am the right person to do it now, since I am not the typical IKEA customer, or fans any longer. Ops. What is my last visit to IKEA? If you want, I can help you to post a notice somewhere in my future post to help you to find the right candidate.

  8. Mr. Wang,

    Thank you for the reply. I think you have misunderstood me, the interviewer does not have to be a loyal fan of IKEA. It would be more interesting to know why customers switch brand or tastes.

    Would you please recondiser my proposal, it would take maximum 20min to complete.

    However, I am still grateful to your suggestion of posting a notice for finding a interviewer.

  9. Mr. Wang,

    Sorry for distrubing you today. It is very kind of to have an interview with me, i really appreciate it. So far i think Tuesday would be ok, let me know what time would be convenient for you.


  10. Hi! I found your site by chance when looking for an ikea forum (just managed to built up my new ikea kitchen). In Gemany and Norway the quality is mostly ok, sometimes not: you can change easily the product and get a perfect thing or they give you back your money. Sometimes you need some extra tool to get the perfect result.

    I`d like to see the new ikea center in Shanghai! Test the swedish chocolate “marabou” in the food area, it`s fine.

  11. Hi,

    I am in Bangalore in India. A friend of mine bought a chest of drawers and mirror cabinet from Dubai which has been shipped to India. Now is there anyway that I can get to know the people who can assemble the same in Bangalore.

    Please contact me on: 0091-9844615815


    Chandan De

  12. hey, i like their ice-cream too! and shall never miss it whenever i visit IKEA…

    oh, they have hot-dogs too….

    Just another IKEA fan (from Malaysia)…

    Nux V

  13. hey there…

    thanx a lot..u were of a great help.

    i read the IKEA’s post….

    i am a management Post Graduation student from india….

    we have an assignement on IKEA in china…

    your post gave me a more local insight….

    keep writing :)


  14. Hello

    I am Thai. I really want to go to Ikea. I see map, i must take off at caoxi road station but i want to know how many minute arrive ikea by walk????? This is my first time to go there

    Thank you for your help

  15. I need to know some furnitures industries address for import to my country .if anyone can help

  16. IKEA Shanzheng just opened last week. We went there to shop for our houseware and so. It had every thing likely their other branch stroes. But the customer services are ghastliness. Especially their outsourcing storehouse & logistics partern. We bought some stuff and turstfully asked them to delivered to our house. They delicated the date but time. We waited for it whole day long but never show up and even one phone call to tell us what was wrong. We called their delivery partner and their answer always pushing around till we got really mad. They just told us the truth was our goods were lose. They said they will try to make up and deliver next day. I trust them again and disppointed again. Next day noon someone called from the warehouse to comfirmed our address again and said they will arrive one hour later. Then the time already passed without and phone call for explanation. They call us around 2pm said they will arrive around 3:30pm. Well, of course we didn’t see any pice of our goods arrived. We called again to ask if our goods already arranged out from the warehouse. They just told us they didn’t even move our goods to the truck. In the end they told us will be arrived at 5:45pm sharp but never showed up again. They make us wait two days without any motivation to tell their customer what’s going on. What a customer services. BTW, IKEA didn’t have any complain hotlines and e-mail address shows on their website. I really want suggust IKEA: Choice a right apartern to continue your services and keep your business reputation.

  17. Dear Sirs,

    We are a trade company founded in 1975, in Syria.

    We are interested to import and distribute Ikea furnitures in our country under an agreement with your IKEA esteemed establishment in China.

    So, please be so kind and provide us with the necessary conditions in this regard in order to arrange a visit to your company in China.

    Kind Regards,

    General Manager

    Orfan Takieddin

    Hope to receive youe early reply.

  18. Dear Sirs,

    We are a trade company was founded in Syria in 1975.

    We are interested to import and distribute IKEA furnitures in our country under a mutual agreement with your esteemed company.

    So, please be so kind and provide us with all the necessary conditions in this regard to be able to arrange a visit to your company in China.

    Looking for a fruitful business cooperation with your company and hope to receive your early reply..

    Kind Regards,

    Orfan Takieddin

    General Manager

  19. Hello, we provide stainless steel cabinet, mirror cabinet, bathroom cabinet, storage cabinet, wall cabinet , towel holder

    waiting for your inquiry.

  20. Dear sir,

    I’m a foreign students in zhong da. If your company need a part time job worker, i’m interested in it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *