Russians Succumb To IKEAization (See, We Really Are Alike)

Russia Profile: It’s 5 p.m. on a grim and rainy Saturday afternoon in November, and finding a parking place near the IKEA store in the Tyoply Stan region of Moscow seems to be impossible. The gigantic parking area is completely full, and the line of cars waiting for available spots stretches for at least another hundred yards.
“During the past ten years, the middle class had been growing fast, and so have its consumer demands,” said Igor Berezin, president of Russia’s Marketing Guild and board member of ROMIR Monitoring, one of the country’s largest research firms. “But for a long time the supply just wasn’t there.”
Now, with global retail giants like IKEA gaining a foothold in Russia, supply is no longer a problem.
The IKEA company, founded in 1943 by Swedish entrepreneur Ingvar Kamprad, has 186 retail stores in 30 countries. Its philosophy involves affordability and quality as key concepts, along with the idea that “one design fits all countries.”
“People have the same needs anywhere – they want a nice place to eat, sleep, sit down with guests and play with children,” said Irina Vanenkova, who has been responsible for IKEA’s PR and advertising in Russia since the company first came here in the summer of 1998, in the midst of Russia’s severe financial crisis.
“IKEA’s furniture is simple and functional, and you can fit it into a limited space,” Vanenkova said. “It works great for people living in the small apartments of Russia’s big cities.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.