Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is Ikea Gearing Up to Take on US Housing Market?

Just a few short months ago, Ideabox, a small modular home factory in Oregon created quite a PR coup when they built a modular house for a Home Show that featured everything Ikea.  Ikea didn't have Ideabox build the home for them, they only sold the interior furnishings to Ideabox but when local reporters and bloggers saw the house they assumed it was Ikea's entry into the US housing market.
Ideabox Aktiv house with Ikea furnishing

Everyone was talking about Ikea's new house including yours truly but alas it was not to be.  Ideabox got a million dollars worth of free publicity and Ikea was swamped with requests for their new house. 

Should the modular housing industry let a potentially great product slowly die on the drawing board?  Absolutely not!  Let's build this puppy.

Years ago the manufactured housing industry sold their single and double wide mobile homes fully furnished and people gobbled them up by the millions.  Then the banks decided not to finance furniture and we started to buy just the home but it still included all the kitchen cabinets and appliances.

Now along comes Ikea and being the huge profit machine that they are just might be planning to capitalize on Ideabox's PR.  Ikea already makes a full line of kitchen, bath and home furnishings and recently announced that you can buy built-in electronics from them.

If I ran Ikea and maybe after this article I'll get the call, I would begin building houses for the US home buyer.  With over 27% of new home buyers being single, can you think of a better house for them? 

So here is my plan for Ikea's domination of the new housing market.

1.  Find a manufacturer that has a national network.  A couple of HUD companies come to mind like Clayton, Cavco and Champion but that would mean that the homes would mostly be sold into manufactured housing communities.  HIG would be the most logical choice.  They own factories that serve just about the entire country AND they are true modular home factories.  With brands like Excel, Mod-U-Kraf and All American, they are in a great position to build and ship them.

2.  Sell the homes with 100% Ikea kitchens and baths.  Do not include the furniture as the banks won't finance that anyway.  Instead give every new home buyer a $10,000 Ikea gift card to spend on anything they want for their new home.

3.  Put one of these homes in every Ikea parking lot and get ready to write sales like our industry hasn't seen in years.  The traffic would be fantastic and if they are offered at the right price point, the housing industry would have a new hero.



Fuller Modular Homes and Offices said...

That’s a great idea! I believe Blue Homes is doing something similar without the furniture. They’re also on the extreme high end of the price scale. I like your idea but I doubt any modular factory will make the time to deal with new innovative ideas. I've yet to find one that can do much more than keep up with all of their mistakes much less learn from them. I fell caught in this vortex. To date I’m doing well but imagine how much we could make if the factories got serious.

Mark_SolarVillageHomes said...

We at Solar Village Homes finished our first Ikea based home just last month and announced our Ikea furnished option this last fall before Ideabox. Our Solar Village Homes are made by All American Homes (HIG CO so it is interesting to see you name them in your blog) but it took some convincing to get them to agree to letting Ikea install the cabinets in the factory. Efforts to get Ikea on our team for more than just suppling the furnishings did not work out so Ideabox was very lucky to get that free publicity. We'll see if they jump in on their own but my guess is that is years out. They do sell homes in Europe already. Our homes are available to any All American Home dealer.

Steve L said...

Modular lifestyles says,
In 2010, A Manufacture Home Dealer and Ikea together placed two fully furnished manufactured home sin the Ikea Costa Mesa Parking lot to showcase Ikeas furniture vignettes.

Ikea Costa Mesa, Ca gets about 8,000 home accessory visitors on the weekend.

We incorporate some Ikea things in our homes for our customers.

If Ikea were to become a modular builder they would need the land. They have the retail outlets. Their customer base and market is typically at the low end (apartment dwellers)looking for a small space solutions.

William said...

Never gonna happen!