New Delhi: Swedish flat-pack furniture giant IKEA announced that it would be stopping one of its ‘most unique and iconic products’, the annual catalogue, ending a seven-decade tradition as customers moved to digital alternatives. The homeware store revealed that this summer’s print run of the one of the world’s biggest annual publications is going to be the last one after 70 years.Also Read - IKEA to Launch First City Store in Mumbai Soon. Check Location, Services & Opening Date

The famed annual catalogues used to offer a snapshot on contemporary living that made them intensely popular, with circulation reaching a peak in 2016, when 200 million copies in 32 different languages were distributed worldwide. But as online shopping has soared these days, very few people prefer reading the printed catalogue, hence, the retailer said it had taken the “decision to respectfully end the successful career of the Ikea Catalogue. Also Read - Bizarre Fashion Trend! Wearable Quilt That Transforms Into Pillow, Netizens Can’t Stop Laughing

Speaking to AFP, Managing Director at Inter Ikea Systems, Konrad Gruss said, “After a 70-year-legacy we have taken the decision to turn the page and say: no, we won’t be printing the catalogue any more going forward, nor do a digital version.” Also Read - With Rs 55 Million Investment, Ikea Plans to Open First Shopping Mall in India at Noida

Gruss also called it “an emotional but also very rational decision,” as he noted a “big change in customer behaviour,” with customers now also choosing to “interact on the web, in apps and social media.”

Earlier in 2000, a digital version version of the catalogue was also launched, but that too would not be renewed any further.

The very first catalogue was put together by the IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad himself in 1951, and it was printed in 285,000 copies, which were distributed around the southern part of Sweden where the company was also started.

Stating that the talks about the catalogue’s future had been ongoing for the last four years, the final decision was taken in the last few months as discussions on a 2022 edition were underway. He added that if not now the decision would probably have been taken in 2022 or 2023, and even if it was not due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the arrival of the virus “has maybe been speeding up the decision.”

Stressing on the point that dropping the catalogue was “not a cost saving exercise”, Gruss said, “The money that we’re not using for production (of the catalogue) we will reinvest into other media.”

A total of forty million copies were made of the last printed catalogue of the 2021 version that was shipped this summer.