Interview: IKEA tech executive optimistic about China's business outlook
LISBON, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Swedish furniture giant IKEA is excited about new business opportunities emerging from the Chinese market, which features rapidly changing dynamics and Chinese consumers' behavioral shifts, an IKEA senior executive told Xinhua recently.
"There is a fundamental change happening in China with people moving more into health and wellness, people looking into how to create a community balance," said Parag Parekh, co-chief digital officer and chief technology officer with IKEA Retail, owned by Ingka Group, which was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, selling household goods.
During the interview on the sidelines of the Web Summit held here last week before IKEA showing its pavillon at the fifth China International Import Expo, which runs through Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai, Parekh stressed he was bullish on growing market share in China and expanding business in the world's second-largest economy.
As Chinese consumers are increasingly willing to purchase home decor to improve their living conditions, IKEA has spotted opportunities in China's growing furniture market.
In 2021, 910 million pieces of furniture were produced in China, showed data from Daxue Consulting. The Beijing-based market research and consulting firm also expected a strong growth in China's furniture market, projecting a compound annual growth rate of 11.6 percent from 2022 onwards.
"We are reading some of these trends to understand what the shift is going to be in terms of people's engagement with the brand, and that will help us design and define what our product range and what our engagement in China will be," Parekh said.
Meanwhile, the tech executive took note of "one of the biggest digital transformation" in IKEA's nearly-80-year-long history, saying, "we are transforming from being a physical retailer into being an omnichannel retailer."
"On the digital side in China, we are present with the website and our app. We have had the first pilots with WeChat mini programs and the first engagements with Tmall," he said. "We are looking into how we can grow and engage our physical versus the digital footprint. It's still in the makings."