We all dream of having beautiful homes to live in. Since home renovations are often expensive and difficult, most people turn to decorating their homes with gorgeous furniture. But, with beds, sofas, air conditioners and TVs costing thousands of dollars, even this is not easy to do with a limited budget. Given this, it’s understandable why people are so excited about IKEA Singapore’s impending launch of its online store. However, the Swedish brand’s reputation for providing beautiful and affordable furniture doesn’t seem to be supported by evidence, according to our research. Here, we discuss how IKEA can actually be more costly than other online options in Singapore.

IKEA isn’t cheap

In order to assess whether IKEA actually is cheaper than other further brands, we collected prices and dimensions of 22 different kinds and sizes of furniture like wardrobes, dining tables, sofas, drawers and bed frames. Often, we found that other online furniture stores like Furniture Mart and Forty Two were cheaper or at least competitive to IKEA’s prices.

For example, take an example of 3 door wardrobes of similar size and style from all of three of these stores, featured above. We found that IKEA’s product was 60% more expensive than Forty Two’s, and 30% more expensive in terms of price per volume. While we also found that IKEA was cheaper for some other products, our analysis showed that IKEA is not the dominant player in the “budget furniture” market in any meaningful way. Furniture Mart was usually quite competitive to IKEA’s pricing as well.

Delivery is expensive

Pricing is not the only reason why IKEA isn’t the best option for budget furniture buyers. Sofas, wardrobes, and tables can be extremely heavy and difficult to move. Given this, if you are buying these at IKEA, you are going to have a very difficult time moving them back to your home. Shopping online may seem to be a viable way of solving this problem. However, IKEA charges at least S$35 for delivery, which can almost double to S$65 if you are buying more than 10 items.

In contrast, Furniture Mart offers free delivery for almost all products we surveyed. An online shopping mall isn’t really all that “convenient” if you have to spend shell out a lot of money to get your items to your door. Given this, it seems that other local retailers already offer much more competitive e-commerce experience than IKEA’s online store to be launched in October.

DIY is hard and installation is expensive

Last but not least, IKEA has built its brand around “cheapness” and “budget” by its iconic Do-It-Yourself assembly products. Its claim fame globally has always been its clean, modern design combined with affordable prices due to the fact that IKEA left assembly to its customers.

However, what Singaporean consumers must realize is that other retailers already offer free installation for their products. As we’ve observed, if the likes of Forty Two and Furniture Mart offer similar design, similar (if not cheaper) pricing, free delivery, and installation, why should anyone spend 3-4 hours assembling their IKEA furniture that they had to carry back home on their own?

Always confirm what you hear

This is a great example of how reality often strays from what people believe. Because companies can associate many qualities with their brands through marketing campaigns, consumers can end up with perceptions that aren’t necessarily backed with facts. That’s why we must always base our actions on facts, not hearsay, especially when it comes to big purchases.

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ValuePenguin is personal finance company based in New York. DJ is responsible for building ValuePenguin’s presence in Asia, from researching personal finance topics in the region to building relationships with financial and media institutions. He previously worked as an investment analyst at leading hedge funds in New York including Cadian Capital and Tiger Asia. His expertise is in the global technology, consumer and financial industries. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in Economics, and speaks Korean, English and Mandarin Chinese.

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