Here's What The Swedish Really Think About IKEA

IKEA is a furniture store that offers brilliant Scandinavian styles at affordable prices, and has become a staple for those who want to design their home without breaking the bank. It has become extremely popular and is continuing to grow in the United States, as well as globally. In 2021, the company brought in nearly $45 billion, more than quadrupling its revenue from 2001, according to Statista. Americans aren't the only fans of the furniture store; it is also a favorite across Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and China. These countries, along with the U.S., brought in almost half of IKEA's sales in 2021.

Although people from around the world adore IKEA and all that it has to offer (top-tier meatballs included), the store has caused controversy within its home country of Sweden on a few occasions. Let us dive in and see what those in Sweden really think of IKEA.

Swedes' annoyances with IKEA

IKEA's affordability has made it a big threat to competitors. Not long after the company opened in 1943, other Swedish furniture vendors became worried that they would erase all competition, according to IKEA's website. As a result, many of these companies pressured suppliers to stop working with the furniture store. They also prevented founder Ingvar Kamprad from attending and exhibiting at furniture fairs across the country. Though this was challenging, IKEA notes that it helped catalyze global expansion.

Outside of the furniture industry, some Swedes are annoyed by the monopoly the company has over search engine results. Since IKEA typically names their items after a Swedish city or town, there can be a lot of confusion when someone searches for a location only to find endless photos of trash cans. To fight back against this, the Swedish Tourism Board created a campaign called "Discover the Originals," according to Fast Company. The lighthearted campaign pokes fun at the issue. It uses the example of Bolmen, a beautiful lake in Småland. To those around the world, the word "Bolmen" may not mean much, but now when people search the word up on Google, they see a toilet brush instead of picturesque lake views. The tourism board says they respect IKEA for bringing business to Sweden, but hope their new campaign will be able to shed a light on some of the incredible places of its country.