A Home Builder Branding Revolution – IKEA launches a US$86,500 flat-pack home — they even build it for you

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Where do you go when you own the home furnishings market?
The Swedish brand famous for its affordable furniture and accessories has come up with a genuine game changer – an IKEA house in which you can put all that IKEA furniture. An architectural firm in Oregon has collaborated with furniture giant IKEA to come up with a flat-pack home costing just US$86,500.

Called aktiv , the house will be the first in a series of designs offering people an eco-friendly Swedish-inspired home with a functional, wide-open living area that makes clever use of all available space.

IKEA worked with Oregon-based architectural firm Ideabox to come up with aktiv’s design, which features, as you would expect, a whole of kit from IKEA. The house includes everything you could desire from state-of-the-art cooking appliances inside – including an induction cooktop and convection oven – to a counter-depth refrigerator, and dishwasher. The bedroom incorporates plenty of storage in the form of IKEA closets, while the bathroom has a two-sink vanity and four drawers together with a storage cabinet. The home also comes with IKEA’s signature timber flooring.

“For those of us IKEA fans, the pure delight of walking and imagining our way through an IKEA store quickly turns to the daunting task of assembly when we get home,” Ideabox’s website says. “Not a worry… When your [home] arrives, all of the cabinets, countertops, and flooring are installed… it’s like the best of everything!”

Sure it wont be winning any architectural awards, but at just over 53 feet long and 14 feet wide, aktiv is a compact house option. Whilst this home option isn’t available to customers yet, it may just signify a tipping-point for the home building industry in Australia. With land costs at an absolute premium, this model of home will provide a genuine entry point option for many who previously couldn’t afford to enter the market. Likewise, the opportunities for granny flats, holiday cabins, beach houses and sub-divides suggest that IKEA may have innovated themselves into a whole new market category. The question from a brand strategy perspective is whether the IKEA brand can stretch into home building. As a customer I don’t currently expect great build quality or life-span for IKEA furniture, but at $99 for a table – I’m more than happy to accept the compromise. But when the price tag jumps to $85k and the risk is about the roof over our heads – perhaps a better brand strategy would be to launch a new brand that leverages of the most relevant parts of the IKEA heritage.

Either way, if I owned a home building brand in the market – I’d be thinking long and hard about my positioning in what may soon be a new and different marketplace.

Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
Creative Brand Builder

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4 Comments

  1. Actually these are not made by IKEA but were made as a concept for IKEA by Ideabox. Apparently they are only shipping locally.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-18/classified/sc-cons-0517-umberger-prefab-home-20120518_1_ikea-products-ektorp-ikea-fans

    In theory the price would be the same + the cost of shipping all the way from the US. I suspect that would add at least 10k to the price. And the Aussie housing industry and government would do everything in their power to protect local monopolies.

    • Thanks Markus – that’s a great bit of additional info. Seems like it is still pretty good value. Not sure what the Govt. would/could do, but it sure would shake up the housing industry. Does anyone know of someone who’s bought one into Australia?

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