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IKEA's going direct to shopper to get a true feel on their home requirements. These days, it is a strategy that is paying off. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: All those hours and days spent at home without setting a foot outside has given UAE residents plenty of ideas on how to reset their living - and working - spaces. That home reset is reflecting on IKEA's lists of customer demand at stores and in online orders.

And the Swedish retailer has the data to back that up - “We conducted an independent study of 5,000 UAE residents and discovered home decor became a priority,” said Vinod Jayan, Managing Director – IKEA at Al-Futtaim Trading. “More than half chose to spend money on their home space rather than saving - and almost half found themselves spending more time in a different room this year.”

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Yes, the COVID-19 has reshaped consumer habits, and nowhere is this more reflected than in the home space. A bigger work table to handle all the hours spent at work or home school? Check. It doesn’t end there either.

Knowledge about shoppers habits and – even more important - the way they live can help any brand. IKEA, in particular, can use that awareness to create market-relevant solutions.

Ticking all needs

“We saw a growth in sales of office furniture, children’s furniture, and accessories,” the official added. “It seems many did not have proper chairs or tables that enabled them to work or study for long hours.”

People were spending more time in the kitchen. “There was a definite increase in sales of kitchen utensils,” he added. “As more consumers spend time at home, there will be a stronger need for maintaining their space. “Affordability is key - this year, we have kept 800 products priced lower than last year.

“We conduct home visit interviews to get a deeper understanding of life at home in this region. What challenges they have and what they dream of for their homes.” 

Packing digital means

When it comes to online presence and sales, many businesses struggle with smooth and easy deliveries - and customers notice all that. Online shoppers in the UAE expect their goods to come fast, easy and seamless.

“We are working towards offering new levels of convenience for our online consumers, including speedy delivery, quality installation, payment options and an easy return policy.”

IKEA plans to improve its digital shopping experience, through personalized recommendations and segmentations on the portal. “Today’s customer is looking for convenience in the form of multiple checkout points. We are developing click-and-collect possibilities in our full experience stores, to provide alternative options to pick-up the order from the nearest location in the shortest possible time.”

We are developing click-and-collect possibilities in our full experience stores

- Vinod Jayan