CQ17: Unlocking Customer Inspired Growth. Find out more.

How do you solve a
problem for IKEA?

Founded: 1943
Category: Retail
Product: Furniture
Key Markets: UK, USA China, Denmark, India, Japan, Germany & Russia
Global Turnover: €31.5bn
C Space Client Since: 2016

The Need


IKEA, the world’s largest modern home furnishing retailer, are a company driven by the vision of creating a better life at home for as many people as possible.

But they don’t see themselves as just a retailer. They want to help build a sustainable future by transforming the way people live, eat, sleep and dream through quality, affordable products. They believe that when you create a better life at home, you’re on the path to creating a better life.

IKEA placed their trust in us to reinforce that belief. Together, we conducted the research and created IKEA’s Life at Home Report 2017. We wanted to understand people’s needs and dreams of Life at Home in 2017 and compile a piece of thought leadership that would get the world talking.

How We Cracked It


For this year’s Life At Home Report, IKEA wanted to go further than ever before to understand people’s needs and dreams at home. Over the course of six months, we used an ambitious, new mix of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We journeyed across the globe and spent 874 hours exploring people’s lives in order to understand what makes a better life at home.

Working with C Space, IKEA:


  • Conducted 36 in-home interviews in Austin, Chengdu, Osaka, Copenhagen, Mumbai, and Munich
  • Ran online communities in seven core, globally representative countries (USA, China, India, Denmark, Germany, Japan and Russia)
  • Interviewed four experts who specialise in ethnographic research, future archaeology and industrial design, materialism, psychology, as well as digital and cultural anthropology
  • Surveyed more than 21,000 people across 22 countries to robustly validate insights and hypotheses


Solving the challenge from the customer’s perspective

Frame the Problem

We looked at the project as if we were writing a Hollywood film – turning live research into a compelling story. The story flexed and grew through a series of ‘edit’ workshops; meaning that both the Insight and Communications Teams could help IKEA create an active guide to creating better homes.

Make Space

We identified a group of unique, creative characters found across the world. Despite their differences in living conditions, our ‘Home Pioneers’ all felt united as creative individuals – so this was utilised in the methodology. To uncover the truth of what home really meant to them, they were connected through video diaries and text chats. 18 of them were flown out for a co-creation workshop.

Build Relationships

We were working with customers online in markets that required cultural sensitivity (e.g. China and Russia). We wanted to make them feel comfortable and open up enough to share. We effectively did this through non-verbal communication. So we empowered them to use emoji’s, photos or projective drawing techniques. This allowed us to eventually uncover the 5 key tensions that make life at home challenging.


A bigger, bolder approach than ever before

Working with IKEA, we transformed the way the Life at Home Report was created and positioned in the marketplace. We created a report that was about actively encouraging people to create better homes through identifying their common challenges and pain points. Together, we found that most people love their homes. 

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