SWOT Analysis Ikea.

IKEA is amongst the biggest retailers of furniture in the world. Would you believe that the business sells more than 10,000 furnishing products from well over 300 stores in around 40 countries. The company has in excess of 600 million visitors to its stores, and its very successful website attracts in excess of 600 million visitors every year. IKEA is a Scandinavian company famous for furniture from living rooms to children's bedrooms. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Strengths

IKEA is certainly an environmentally friendly business with a keen focus upon sustainability. In years gone by the company had been accused of encouraging wastefulness since it made a very large numbers of furniture products at low prices. As part of an integrated public relations campaign - IKEA now focuses on sustainability and made it an underpinning principle of its business philosophy.

In 2011 IKEA has the enviable record of recycling more than 85% of the packaging and other waste from its stores. Products and materials, suppliers, climate change and community involvement are the fundamental principles of IKEA's sustainability approach. For example, IKEA imposes very strict control measures on some of its suppliers, such as those based in the greater China region.

IKEA likes satisfied customers. The business manages to score highly in customer satisfaction surveys. Many marketing research companies rank IKEA in their top 10 companies for customer satisfaction. They managed to enhance their brand association with such great results.

Let's face it IKEA is probably the biggest furniture retail name in the world. This is a business with more than 10,000 products available on every continent. They offer low prices and products that offer good value. If you want hard wearing and long-lasting, you will pay more for it elsewhere. IKEA has positioned its business offering away from high-quality and high price, and also a way from low quality, low price. It is in a very enviable position.

Weaknesses

The business is experiencing problems in one or two home markets. For example in the European market of the United Kingdom, IKEA has recently opened more stores which means that the number of visitors is divided by a greater number of retail outlets. So in the past the consumers would travel many miles to visit stores and each store had a large number of visitors, now these consumers have not really increased in number, but are now able to visit a more local store. This has reduced the footfall per store and any sales density.

One problem experienced by IKEA is that its flagship stores are not located in city centres, or even secondary locations near large populations. They are out-of-town stores. So consumers have to travel large distances to visit the stores. Their customers have to not only cost their travelling expenses, but they also have to collect large packages and take them home. This would be a competitive disadvantage.

Opportunities

IKEA is traditionally famous for its diversification strategies. For example in the past they have sold food products and opened restaurants in their stores. So the online opportunity of trading through highly advanced e-commerce technologies is an ideal avenue for IKEA. Obviously this helps the business to overcome problems with out-of-town stores since consumers can stay at home to shop and then request that goods are delivered to their doorstep.

Another opportunity lies within the new low-cost manufacturing nations of China and India. So costs can be reduced and margins possibly increased by reducing labour costs. This will also give the business the opportunity to enter these potentially lucrative developing consumer societies. Furniture could be made in factories in China, and textiles for curtains for example could be made in India.

Threats

Businesses such as IKEA will struggle against the larger portfolio suppliers such as Tesco in the United Kingdom and Walmart in the United States. For example Tesco's sells not only groceries, but TV sets and mobile phones, so it is only a matter of time before the business diversifies into a range of bedroom furniture or kitchens.

Like any global marketing company IKEA has to compensate for the global economic situation. The business needs people to move through the family life cycle. Empty nesters need to equip their homes with furniture. So interest rates need to be low enough so that they can afford to borrow money to equip their new homes. There needs to be plenty of low-cost housing for them to be able to do this. Do they have job security? The changing economic environment will impact and influence IKEA’s furniture business.

IKEA is trading in relatively mature consumer markets, and has entered all plausible free markets countries. The new and emerging nations of India and China sometimes make it difficult for IKEA to embed itself as a supplier to new consumers. For example, there are often foreign ownership rules which mean that IKEA might have to take a local business partner. The new partner could take more than 50% of its business and this is not always acceptable to its board.