Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The IKEA China catalog - can you spot the differences?

Back in August, my dear friend Taowen was visiting from Shanghai when she noticed my shiny new 2012 IKEA catalog. I asked if it looked like her version, but she wasn't sure since it hadn't been released yet. I commented that it would be interesting to compare the two and asked if she would mind sending me a copy when they became available.

Fast forward a couple of months and on Saturday I got a note from my mail carrier that I had registered mail I needed to sign for at the post office. Maybe I'm a bit of a pessimist, but I got worried...I mean who gets a registered letter these days unless it's something bad??? So I was pleasantly surprised today to discover the notice was actually for an oddly marked package from China containing their new IKEA catalog. Yeahhhhh!

I know my brain functions differently than most, but I've always wondered if the 175 million catalogs IKEA prints each year (more than 3 times the printings of the Bible according to Wikipedia) are all the same, other than the obvious language differences. Well now I have a definitive answer to my pondering....no they are not! Check out the two covers and see how many differences you can find.
It's so odd because they used the exact same room right down to the same plants but styled it differently. The biggest difference is the color palettes. China's room is done with a black and white theme and pale gray walls. The U.S. room has a mint green paint color, light brown colored sofa and black table with chairs. I really would love to see how they stage the rooms and decide which looks work best for which regions.

Honestly, 90% of the rest of the catalog is almost identical as you can OBVIOUSLY read from the index pages.
The most notable areas of difference are the kitchen and living room sections. Our kitchen appliances vary dramatically from the rest of the world so I expected to see some differences there. The China kitchen brings back memories of when I was living in Spain and had a difficult time finding anyone who owned an oven large enough for a Thanksgiving turkey.
And the US catalog living room complete with multiple pieces of the same Tidafors sofa plus an adorable Golden Retriever...

For the most part there aren't too many people shown in IKEA catalogs, so I did find the difference below interesting, but honestly it's because I kept staring at the two Pax wardrobes to the left of the bed wondering if the US version is wider.
But my favorite difference between the two catalogs...
the metric versus imperial rulers on the spines of the catalogs! Thanks Taowen for remembering my odd request and for the nice note tucked inside.

1 comment:

  1. my 2012 catalogue has a comlpetely different cover, bt its the online version, will be able to know for sure sunday (yhay ikea trip) i live in Ireland but im Italian, so i always found there is a good bit of difference between the two, when it comes to prices and product availability, but that's probably due to how small ireland is (only 1 shop, 2 if u count belfast but that's UK)compared to the 20ish in Italy