Marco Amasanti
Marco Amasanti is a Retail Analyst focusing on spending on the home, including DIY, electricals and furniture

Following its furniture rental scheme, and growing focus on materials and energy, Ikea’s latest innovation to help drive it become climate-positive by 2030, is its long awaited buyback and resale initiative. Initially announced in October 2020, this buyback scheme taps into several overarching trends in the home retail market. Foremost are the calls for sustainability, the importance of which grew even further for many amid uncertainty in the past year.

Consumers can get an estimated price for their second-hand furniture on IKEA’s website Source: IKEA

Increasingly, consumers expect home retailers to help out in this endeavour. As discussed in our latest furniture report, over a tenth of UK consumers prioritise how environmentally friendly a retailer is when deciding where to shop for furniture. In the future, IKEA can build on this by utilising social media to provide housebound consumers with tutorials and guidance in the recent increase in popularity for upcycling and repairing old furniture.

Secondly, the scheme taps into the need for value. Although always paramount, this need has been turbocharged , as many suffered from job insecurity, restrictions and financial pressures since the outbreak in March 2020. In fact, as of 22 April 2021, over a third of consumers are still cutting back on non-essential spending. As such, an in-store exchange, and the potential reduction of prices, could prove welcomed by these consumers.

Lastly, this scheme is a great means of encouraging footfall back in-store, particularly as the recovery of confidence gradually returns consumers to the high street over the coming year. In fact, over two-thirds of consumers would like to see more sustainability initiatives in-store when purchasing furniture. Taking learning points from the last recession, the opportunity not just for in-store credit, but also second-hand ranges could prove hugely successful in catering to these aforementioned cash-strapped shoppers.

What we think

Accordingly, Mintel expects this scheme to prove popular over the coming year. Moving forwards, there is a clear opportunity for the expansion of these in-store exchange systems across more retailers, while the scope of this could be extended to cover new home sectors, such as electrical appliances, flooring and homewares. Moreover, the in-house renovation of old products could create a much-appreciated new income source for many retailers that have struggled in the past year.

Within this, the closure of workspaces across the UK should provide an influx of second-hand home office furniture as many settle down to working-from-home for the long-term. There is also an opportunity for social media companies to increase their role as a retailer in their own right, serving as a new third-party marketplace to facilitate these peer-to-peer sales.