IKEA’s long-awaited Buy Back service has gone live in the UK. After its original launch date was postponed owing to the second national lockdown in November, the new service encourages customers to sell back furniture that they no longer need and, in return, receive a voucher to spend at the store when they need something.
The furniture will be resold by the retailer within their Circular Hubs (previously Bargain Corner), at even more affordable prices, thereby giving a second life to IKEA products, helping to prevent perfectly useable materials from entering landfill unnecessarily.
Used products returned as good as new with no scratches will be bought for 50% of the original price, whilst items with minor scratches will be bought for 40%. Furniture that is well used with several scratches will be bought for 30%. For example, customers could receive up to £250 for GALANT office cabinets, £249 for the MÖRBYLÅNGA table and £213 for the MOCKELBY table.
The service is the latest in a succession of initiatives from the Swedish retailer to help make sustainable living more accessible and affordable; encouraging customers to rethink their consumption habits and take positive action to help our planet.
Creating a more sustainable approach to retail and manufacture has been identified by InternetRetailing’s sister company RetailX’s latest sector report on Homewares as a key growth driver for the sector and IKEA’s Buy Back plan chimes perfectly with this trend, as well as tapping onto a growing consumer demand for more sustainable retail.
Products eligible for Buy Back include dressers; office drawer cabinets, small structures with drawers, display storage and sideboards, bookcases and shelf units, small tables, multimedia furniture, cabinets, dining tables and desks, chairs and stools without upholstery, chests of drawers and children’s products (excluding baby items).
Customers wanting to sell back their IKEA furniture can visit IKEA.co.uk and submit items for consideration by filling out a simple online offer request. The tool will automatically generate a preliminary offer and customers will then be invited to bring the fully assembled product and introductory offer to the Returns & Exchanges desk in their nearest store, where they will receive an IKEA voucher. The voucher will have no expiry date to encourage customers to only purchase new items when they really need something.
Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA UK & Ireland, explains: “Households are connected to around 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions, consuming around a third of the energy and 10% of the water used globally. Therefore, small actions taken within them can make a significant difference, and why IKEA is so committed to making sustainable living more affordable, attractive and accessible. As one of the biggest brands in the world, we recognise our unique opportunity to help lead that change.
“Through Buy Back we hope to make circular consumption mainstream; making it easier for customers to acquire, care for and pass on products in circular ways.
“As we move towards our goal of becoming fully circular and climate positive by 2030 we will continue to take bold steps ensuring that, by then, all IKEA products will be made from renewable, recyclable and/or recycled materials; and they will be designed to be re-used, refurbished, re-manufactured or recycled, following circular design principles.”
To coincide with the launch, IKEA is also introducing ’Pre-Loved Labels’ to its second-hand items, allowing customers to learn about an item’s past before giving it a new home.
Greg Lucas, Country Sustainability Manager, IKEA UK and IE adds: "Our research shows that there’s a huge demand to buy quality second hand products. In fact, three in four would now consider buying pre-loved. For many, this comes down to affordability, but sustainability has a huge role to play in this decision too. Encouragingly, 32% people say that the reason they purchase second-hand is to extend the lifecycle of that item, with over a third (35%) agreeing that they like items with a history. We are trialling Pre-Loved Labels for that reason, so people can find out about their furniture’s unique past before giving it a new home."
Dele Anthony, 37 from London is selling her HEMNES bookcase back to IKEA through Buy Back as she’s soon to be moving home. She purchased the bookcase almost seven years ago and it has since housed some of her family’s most treasured items – including their engagement and wedding albums alongside a picture of their son’s first day at nursery.
Meanwhile, Leah Baldock, 27, from Warrington is selling back her BRIMNES double bed which she bought from Bargain Corner whilst pregnant with her first baby: “My bed has been perfect and we’ve seen our little family grow with it. I have lots of happy memories of snuggling up with my baby, feeding him and settling him to sleep in this bed. However, we’re hoping to move to a new house in the summer and with a growing family that’ll want to jump into bed with Mummy and Daddy in the morning, we need a bigger bed to go with it!”.
The Pre-Loved Labels service will initially be trialled across Glasgow, Greenwich, Tottenham and Warrington stores for a two-week period between 5th and 15th May, to determine whether it will then be rolled out nationally.
To get involved, customers can return items they no longer need through Buy Back by filling in an online estimation form, before visiting Customer Returns at the above stores, where they’ll have the opportunity to add a Pre-Loved Label detailing their product’s story.
As part of its circular and climate positive ambition, IKEA has launched a nationwide collaboration with online re-commerce platform Gumtree to advertise and promote its recovered products online. Shoppers can easily browse what products are available by simply entering #CircularHub into Gumtree’s search tool. Once they have spotted an item of interest, they can reserve it with a click, and then collect it from the associated IKEA store.
Since its recent launch in October 2020, IKEA has already sold over 10,000 recovered items through the platform, serving 7,000 customers.
IKEA has a target to cut emissions in line with keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, using Science Based Targets without the use of carbon offsets.
Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, in the financial year 2020 Ingka Group produced 132% more renewable energy than it consumed in its global operations for the very first time*. Sales of IKEA’s People and Planet Positive products were particularly strong, representing 30% of the total volume of products sold over the course of the year.
These achievements sit alongside multiple initiatives from the retailing group geared towards reducing carbon emissions and helping customers live more sustainably at an affordable price. Last year saw the launch of plant balls, a plant-based alternative to IKEA’s iconic meatball which contains just 4% of the carbon footprint; whilst October 2021 will see the removal of all single-use alkaline batteries from sale in stores globally. In April, Ingka Group also announced an investment of €4bn (in addition to the €2.5bn invested to date) to support its transition towards using 100% renewable energy across its entire value chain.