Swedish furniture retailer behemoth Ikea has finally opened their first store in India. The first IKEA India store in Hyderabad this year, will be followed by the Navi Mumbai store in 2019. While IKEA has been sourcing products for three decades, the store marks a milestone in their investments in the Indian market.
It also plans to launch an online retail platform in the country next year.
Peter Betzel, CEO, Ikea India, said: “We have laid a strong foundation here in India”. “India will be the future”.
But Ikea, which has been planning its India entry since 2013, surely brings in a global understanding and will want to quickly learn how to win Indian customers.
But due to strict government regulations on foreign investment, it was prevented from opening any physical outlets there. The opening of its first store here was scheduled for July 19 but the company pushed it to August 9, citing quality commitments. “Our products will be inspiring, affordable, and convenient for Indian customers”.
But Satish Meena from Forrester Research said the firm will also have to adapt its offerings to the “extremely diverse” Indian market.
Besides retail, IKEA said it will also enter e-commerce segment in India by next year, besides exploring small format stores as part of its India expansion plans.
In IKEA globally, 44% of co-workers are women, while in India, 37% of the workforce are women today.
IKEA will not only have to win over different tastes in India, but also change a culture.
The store was opened amidst cheerful Ikea management and staff with the ribbon cutting by a customer.
7 December 2016: Ikea says it expects to open a Hyderabad store toward the end of 2017. Our surveys into some 1,000 Indian homes, he said, revealed that many people live out of small spaces and would like increased functionality and multifunctionality with clever storage spaces.
It has added around 150 assemblers to its first store and tied up with UrbanClap, for providing home services.
If two-seat sofas costing as little as 5,990 rupees and 7,990-rupee double-bed frames aren’t enough to lure shoppers, the Hyderabad store features a 1,000-seat restaurant – one of the largest across Ikea’s 400-strong global chain – that will serve a mix of Nordic and local dishes, including biryani for 99 rupees a plate. Ikea’s iconic Swedish meatball are made of chicken or vegetables, to meet Hindu strictures against eating beef.
“We learned that food is important, especially with the whole family coming”, Maetzu said.
Wealthy, well-traveled Indians may already be familiar with Ikea, but the company is hoping to attract millions of new fans. “So here we are”, said IT manager Nasrullah Khan, 34, another early bird.
He, however, said the company could understand the import tariffs, stating “a nation of the size and the development (stage) of India, you have to defend yourself in your development curve”.