IKEA, the Swedish homewares retail giant known for the assemble-it-yourself furniture, are now taking giant steps in to the world of consumer electronics. They have taken some small steps with TVs being sold in to some parts of the European market but want to take bolder steps with this class of product.
Could you be buying a TV or stereo from the same shop that you buy that build-it-yourself BILLY bookcase?
But they work on an “experience” driven model rather than the common method of retailing consumer electronics where products of a kind are grouped together. If you wander through the Showroom level of an IKEA store, you will pass through room layouts set up with complementing furniture, homewares and soft furnishings as if they are part of your home. For them, once they cut in to consumer electronics and home appliances, these layouts could be activated with the TVs, white-goods and other appliances so you could see the whole equation.
The problem that I see here is whether these will be baseline items such as TVs and video-peripherals not equipped with HDMI-CEC video-peripheral control or HDMI-ARC two-way sound paths or appliances that don’t have the full level of “smart-home” readiness like I am used to with goods sold in the discount stores. They could easily work better to look at what most products offered by the big names in their popular ranges offer in terms of functionality, efficiency and features and offer these at prices that better the big names.
I see this more as being interesting for IKEA and it may be interesting whether they even cut in to the home-network scene at all by offering network accessories.