FISHERS, Ind. – With millions in investment and 250 jobs promised, it’s obvious the economic impact for IKEA in central Indiana will be massive. But what is it about the area that brought IKEA here?
Business analysts have termed IKEA a game-changer for decades. The company markets directly to millennials.
“I think this is a big win for the city of Fishers today,” said Mayor Scott Fadness, at a Tuesday morning news conference announcing the new IKEA store.
IKEA’s plans to locate a nearly 300,000-square-foot furniture store in Fishers in 2017 come as no surprise to industry analysts.
“IKEA is making a very strategic initiative to come into the Midwest,” said Dr. Daniel McQuiston, a marketing professor at Butler University, “IKEA really changed the way that furniture shopping was done.”
McQuiston said the Indianapolis area has the customers IKEA is looking for and the draw.
“They very, very strategically target markets where they see a lot of millennials and young folks, who are going to come into their stores and be customers, and Indianapolis is one of those cities,” he said.
What’s so special about IKEA?
A quick online search will show you, with this article calling it the most influential retailer of the past 25 years, with furniture built for now, not forever, and reasonable price points.
Massive IKEA stores come complete with Sweedish food and are true destinations for visitors to come and see.
“They’re one of the few stores that really creates an experience for their shoppers,” said McQuiston.
IKEA’s nearest locations are in the Cincinnati and Chicago metro areas, meaning Hoosiers who used to drive out of state to spend money and visit IKEA can now stay in Indiana.
“We’re already losing business to those market areas,” said Richard Feinberg, Head of the Department of Consumer Science at Purdue University.
Feinberg estimates IKEA stores generate on average $90 million in annual revenue. But he said the obvious growth comes at a cost, as the mega retailer has mega power.
“That means there are some lower performing furniture retailers that are going to lose in the competition unless they do something spectacular,” he said, You can’t out IKEA, IKEA.”
Feinberg said another issue could be the traffic surrounding the store.
“If the people in Fishers think they have a lot of traffic congestion right now, they’ve seen nothing yet compared to what IKEA’s going to do for the roads, and the traffic lights, and the signals, and the off and on ramps on the highway. It’s going to be a very big problem unless they plan for it,” he said.
IKEA officials plan to break ground next fall and open in the fall of 2017.