Blog: June 2016

Ikea: Life At Home Report
By Abby Trow

Ikea's brought out its third annual Life at Home report, which the company says focuses on've guessed it.. those elusive little somethings that make a house a home. A bit corny, non?

One thing that struck me immediately..and it's a surprising oversight from a company that does have very strong eco credentials I think... is that the report (read it here) DOES NOT have a section on what we're all doing to be more eco friendly at know, like composting our veg peelings and food waste; turning down the thermostat by a degree and limiting our hot showers to four minutes.

Ikea says it interviewed people in 12 cities inclduing Stockholm, Shanghai, Mumbai, New York and surely it would have been fascinating to look at ways people in different parts of the world are - or aren't - trying to be less wasteful of energy and whether they care about sustainability when it comes to furniture and belongings. i.e have we moved on from the throw-away mentality?

High five for wi-fi

I'm not sure the report offers anything particularly riveting, let alone surprising. Unless you're surprised by the importance of wi-fi to.... well...pretty much everyone.

So, apparently, one in four of us say good wi-fi is more important in a home than having space for socialising.

One in five of us prefer to keep up with friends by 'visiting' them online rather than actually asking them to come to our homes in the flesh.

And (not quite sure how this works...) 16 per cent of millennials (folks born after 1985) admit 'to eating or drinking together through social media than in person'.

What seems very sad - and it's not something Ikea can do much about, alas - is that too many of us are living in overcrowded accommodation and yearn for privacy at home (anecdotes include how people look forward to their morning/evening stint in the bathroom because it's the one place they can be on their own in a property...).

But this report glosses over this burning issue that affects people in so many towns and cities around the world. And it makes you wonder if global businesses involved in furniture, which needs to have a house/flat to go to, couldn't get involved in the affordable housing debate so we aren't all squashed like sardines in our flats. (For example, Ikea might support Userhuus..a Swiss project that's developed super eco modular housing, and put its clout behind a campaign to free up land... See our blog piece on Userhuus.)

Anyway, I'm digressing.. Ikea is happier to tell us that young people like music (didn't we know that?) and they play stuff they like in their bedrooms so things feel more homely.

30 per cent of people questioned associate a certain food with home, and while 63 per cent cook to create the feeling of home (73 per cent in Moscow!)
16 per cent of respondents say they would not have any problems throwing away and replacing all the things they have in their home. (Hope they're not looking despairingly at all their Ikea furniture and wondering where the nearest recycling centre is...) 
25 per cent of respondents would choose to spend an hour alone if they had one spare during the day, rather than with friends or family.
I'm not sure this Life At Home report has anything meaningful to offer other than trifles and observations of the obvious. But read between the lines and you see what we crave is space.
Bigger flats and houses, bigger rooms. Is this a problem of over-population or a global economy that has turned living space into one of the most valuable assets on earth, with those lucky enough to own land/property determined to squeeze people who need a roof over their heads until the pips squeak?
Ikea's survey was carried out in April and May 2016 in 12 cities: Berlin, London, Madrid, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto and Zurich. It received 12,000 responses.
eco friendly, eco home