How Do IKEA's Prices In Australia Compare?

We like IKEA's cheap homewares, but if you've ever spent time looking at its prices elsewhere in the world, you'll realise Australians sometimes pay a premium for its products. Just how much of a premium? The honest answer: it varies.

Picture by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

While watching The Voice last night (judge me if you must), I saw an ad for a story on A Current Affair in which a "six-month investigation" promised to reveal how Australians were being ripped off when buying IKEA gear.

Aussies paying over the odds for imported goods is nothing new, sadly, and as I know myself from many an IKEA-hacking post, the Swedish furniture giant is not always an exception to the rule. I do wonder why the investigation took so long -- after all, finding out overseas pricing for IKEA doesn't require any more effort than going to the relevant web sites. But to be fair, perhaps the ACA reporters hit factories in China or IKEA HQ in Sweden. I guess we'll see soon enough.

Hyperbole aside, it does raise an interesting issue. So as an exercise, I grabbed our list of IKEA's best buys under $10 and checked out what the prices were in the US for items available in both countries. Here's what I found.

Item, $AU price Frakta bag, $1.99 Kvartal wall fitting, $5.00 Rationell Varieria bag holder, $4.49 Bevara Sealing clips, $1.99 Lillholmen toothbrush mug, $9.99 Plastis ice cube trays, $0.99 Brada laptop support, $7.99 Lack table, $9.99
$US price $0.59 $4.99 $1.99 $2.99 $8.99 $0.99 $2.49 $9.99

What have we learned? Some products are much cheaper in the US (the Brada laptop tray), many are the same (the Lack side tables), some are more expensive (the Bevara clips). It's worth pointing out that some items have dropped in price locally since I originally assembled that top 10 list (the clips have fallen from $4.99 to $1.99, the laptop support has gone from $9.99 to $7.99).

I haven't looked at more expensive furniture, where the price differentials might be starker. But the overall lesson is not mega-scandalous: prices vary in different markets. Some items look like better value in the US, but at this price point, the majority don't.

More significantly, those prices are still cheaper than most local rivals, and no-one is forcing you to shop at IKEA. It's not going to stop me shopping there, and the fact some local prices are higher isn't a shock to me. What's your reaction?


Comments

    Are the quality the same between both countries?

      With these products, yes; they're the same goods (and from China in all cases, I'd predict, though I'd have to check to be sure.)

    Just watched the ACA segment, best laugh in ages when Dick Smith floated the idea of boycotting IKEA until they bring their prices in line with US/Sweden. I've been boycotting DSE for years for exactly the same reason and there prices have not moved!

      Dick Smith doesn't own DSE anymore and hasn't for a while, DSE is owned by Woolworths.

    Those may be discounted prices in Australia, particularly given their presence on a "best ten under $10" list. I bought a couch there a fortnight ago - USD299 when I looked on the American website, but I got it for a steal at AUD539.

    I don't think you'll see much price difference with smaller items.

    Check out the big ticket stuff like beds and couches here you'll see $200-300 price differences especially with the more expensive items. Though as usual we need to be aware that we actually earn a lot more than the average US citizen so on average things are probably about the same.

    Examples
    TIDAFORS Couch
    $499 US http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90205219/
    $799 AUD http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/70205220/

    POANG Chair (WTF is with the price difference here?)
    $99 USD http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00155780/
    $269 AUD http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/10161200/

    PAX Wardrobe
    $699 USD http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S99894656/
    $1199 AUD http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/S39894923/

    Actually thats pretty disgusting we don't earn more than twice as much as some one in the us.

    It is the same reasons we get ripped off for most things.
    1) Economies of scale. Think about how many more thousands of items are sold in the US, then Australia.
    2) Minimum wage in Australia is enough to feed a family of Americans, Seriously. Even our unskilled Ikea workers make a very good wage (by western world standards) and to pay this wage the price is inflated.
    3) Then a sucker tax is added by everyone involved. This is because, well, we can afford it. Australia is the cash cow for most FMCG industries and I wouldn't see Ikea being any different.

    The saying you get what you pay for applies strongly to ikea, it's cheap for a reason. Thinking its worth it to buy better quality

    I know there is a big stink about prices in Australia right now. But has anyone thought about the market in Australia? Maybe the population is just not big enough to sustain those low prices here. I know IKEA is a big company making big profits but, we can't really expect them to make a loss here just to keep to those prices.

    There are 38 IKEA stores in the US and only 7 in Australia, that should give an indication on how much smaller the Australian market is.

      talking about markets, Frank, I live in Portugal ( that's a tiny country with only 3 IKea stores and the prices are much, much cheaper than the australian ones...
      Yu're right, not as cheap as the Us, but compared to Australia, every sofa is at least 300$ more expensive!!

    What I find more interesting is how the prices between the Adelaide/Perth stores and the others in the country differ. Can't be bothered checking now, but I remember when I shifted cities last year (and my machine defaulted to my previous IKEA) that some of the sets of shelves I was looking at buying were $50 ($290 v. $240) more expensive at my new IKEA.

    Looking at population statistics, America is just a much larger market. I don't know too much about marketing, but I'd assume this means they also have more competitors and thus would need to be very competitive with pricing - moreso than over in AUS.

    could be that each IKEA is their own franchise too. Depending on local costs for import, storage and salary levels, some items will inevitably have different price points.

    I just checked with IKEA Romania, not the richest country in the world and LACK table is ~$5.70, and most other products were the same as US/AUS or in the middle of the two.

    I just wish they'd bring back PROPER swedish food in their food market instead of that IKEA branded crap. I want my DAIM g'dammit!

    I live in Hong Kong so I thought I'd do a quick compare with IKEA HK. All prices converted to AUD. Aussie price first.

    Frakta bag - $1.99 v $0.65
    Kvartal wall fitting, $5.00 v $5.14
    Rationell Varieria bag holder, $4.49 v $3.85
    Bevara Sealing clips, $1.99 v $5.14
    Lillholmen toothbrush mug, $9.99 v $7.73
    Plastis ice cube trays, $0.99 v $1.27
    Brada laptop support, $7.99 v $7.73
    Lack table, $9.99 v $10.31

    I guess the lesson is you could do well exporting Bevara Sealing clips to the world!

    As a fan of ikea hackers, I can tell you right now that the average price in ikea australia is about 3-4 times the US. Often the "cheap" ikea hacks are more expensive than a custom device from another retailer.

    My daughter, a Uni student age 18, just received her 1st paypacket from a casual job and wanted to purchase a set of drawers for her makeup & accessories. It is called the Alex and costs $119 in the USA yet $299 here!!! That is almost 3 TIMES THE PRICE. Needless to say she cannot afford to purchase it and we are looking elsewhere from now on. IKEA can stick their exploitation and discrimination against Australian buyers up their jolly blue & yellow jumpers, because now that most folk here are internationally minded and shop online more and more, checking online if one is to be ripped off regarding a product is dead easy. Whatever IKEA hacks are , please advise more!

    That is the sad reality of living in Australia, everything is a rip off when you compare the prices here and the prices in the US. Ikea clearly chose to exploit the fact that Australians are willing to pay higher prices. However, I think the sad fact is that people like me would still go to Ikea to look for a nice coffee table/computer desk since they are still cheaper than places like Harvey Norman or Myers.

    Ok, I'm moving to brisbane, could use some advise on where the hell do I find furniture that's not a rip off??? ;)

    What about the people who earn avg income - 4000 per month who cannot afford the so called low rip off prices set up by co in the name of economies of scale?
    I am looking to buy nursery furniture and the same brand costs cheaper in US.

    It's not just the Australia IKEAs in comparison to other countries but also within Australia. I want to buy some of their curtains and have just discovered exactly the same curtains are $20 cheaper if I buy in NSW, QLD or VIC than in WA or SA! That's ridiculous and I wanted to by 4 pairs.

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