IKEA finally opening its first full-sized store in Estonia won't mean significant changes to the domestic market, Estonian furniture retailers say, noting that the brand has lost its exclusivity due to IKEA's limited pickup point opening in 2019 and the relative proximity of its other stores.
Not that long ago, people were still posting ads on social media — "If anyone is going to IKEA, please bring me back a few things." Dedicated shopping trips to Finland are history now, as the Swedish furniture giant's first showroom and full-sized store in Estonia is now open.
Thursday's opening in Kurna, just outside of Tallinn, didn't attract large crowds, but alongside curious folks who had come to browse were nonetheless shoppers with definite plans to buy as well.
"I need a couch," said Jelena. "I like this one a lot. We checked out [couches] at Rocca al Mare [Shopping Center], and this is a better couch than the one at Rocca al Mare."
Another family came to the new IKEA store all the way from Haapsalu — mainly just to come check it out, although the family also needs both new living room and new children's bedroom furniture. Their latest furniture purchases were online, where some prices may be lower than those at IKEA.
"The thing with online stores is you see one picture, and then go to the store in person to see what it actually looks like, and they're often disappointing," Anžeelika said. "What? It looks nice in the picture, but in reality the quality doesn't match the price tag."
Estonian furniture retailers nonetheless don't believe IKEA's full arrival on the local market will significantly change anything up.
Online retailer ON24 CEO Astrid Bachmann said that IKEA's own Helsinki and Riga stores will be losing the most customers to the new Tallinn location, as Estonian residents previously traveled there to shop at IKEA.
"Interest will likely initially be greater, but that will die down at some point, and it'll be one of many stores," Bachmann said.
Aatrium CEO Liina Kivimäe noted that the famous furniture store's goods have long since been accessible due to the pickup point opened in Tallinn's Lasnamäe District a few years ago, thanks to which the brand has lost its exclusivity.
"When we didn't have it in Estonia, it seemed especially cool and hard to get, and at the time it was all the rage to say let's visit IKEA too if we're already going to Helsinki," Kivimäe said. "Most people who like IKEA's style of furniture have long since visited IKEA already."
Editor: Aili Vahtla