Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.

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‘Just getting started’: Ikea bets big on the digital home

Sweden's IKEA is doubling down its bet on the digital home, launching a new Smart Home business unit, and investing "significantly" to "fast-forward development".

'Just getting started': Ikea bets big on the digital home
The Symfonisk range, a table lamp speaker and a book-shelf speaker_2 DOWNLOAD View Add to Media Cart SYMFONISK range, table lamp speaker and book-shelf speaker. Photo: Ikea
“We need to explore products and solutions beyond conventional home furnishing,” Björn Block, who will lead the new business unit, said in a press release
“The business unit of IKEA Home smart will drive the digital transformation of the IKEA range,” he added. “We're just getting started.” 
Björn Block is the Ikea executive who will lead the new business unit. Photo: Ikea
When Lena Herder, Ikea's new country head for Sweden, announced plans to cut 650 jobs in Sweden last November, she predicted that new jobs would eventually be created in the company's digital and logistics arms.
But the company did not say in the press release how many, if any, new staff it planned to hire in key offices in Älmhult, Helsingborg and Malmö. 
Ikea has been testing digital home ideas since launching Ikea Home Smart back in 2012, and has already launched tables and lamps that can wirelessly charge phones, the Home Smart lighting app, and home audio in partnership with Sonos. 
Ikea's Trådfri gateway, which can be used to control lights and music across the home. Photo: Ikea
But Peter van der Poel, Ikea's manager of Range & Supply, said the aim was now to significantly expand the offering, with a whole new division launched analogous to the children's section selling play furniture, cots, and the Antilop stool. 
“This is the biggest new business we are establishing since the introduction of Children’s IKEA,” he said. “We have decided to invest significantly in Home Smart across Ikea to fast-forward the development.”
Up until now Ikea has been open to partnering with all the tech giants, linking its Trådfri system with Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa, rather than trying to create its own voice-activated system. 
The US market intelligence firm IDC expects global sales of smart home devices to more than double over the next five years from $830m to $1.6bn.