Providing customers with a family-oriented shopping experience has been one of the cornerstones of furnishing giant Ikea's business strategy. Ikea's Singapore arm is looking to raise its appeal to families with children - by launching a line of furnishing products targeted at children aged eight to 12.
The new products are centred around the idea of creating a space for children in which to express themselves freely; one such product is a disco ball with LED lighting called Dansa.
Mike King, Ikea Singapore's regional retail manager, said: "We found that there was this sort of gap in the market where children don't want to be children anymore, but are still not quite adults. So we've tried to get products to reflect their developing personalities."
The new range has been introduced in Malaysia and Thailand as well.
Ikea Singapore's range of products for children have, up until now, catered only for children below the age of seven.
The new products make up 15 per cent of the children's range, which in turn makes up 7 per cent of the entire range of products now sold here.
Mr King, noting that half of Ikea's customers across the region are families with children, said: "I don't know if there's been an increased demand (for products catering to children in the eight-to-12 range). I think the demand's always been there, and it's just never really been recognised."
Ikea Singapore has organised several one-off events to reach out to children and their parents. For example, a two-day Space Camp concludes today. Its young participants were taken through a range of activities, such as using dye-filled eggs to make patterns on walls, and building DIY space robots with their parents and other family members.
Mr King said: "It's important for us to have lots of people in the store. Making choices about home-furnishing products is a long process. Invariably, when you come to Ikea, it's a long day, a whole day."
Ikea has been in Singapore for more than 35 years. It has two stores, in Queensway and Tampines. It employs about 850 workers across both stores.
This article was first published on June 14, 2014.
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