MANILA - Physical 3-dimensional shopping will likely drive sales of IKEA's brick and mortar stores despite access to e-commerce after the COVID-19 pandemic is solved, its official said Friday.
The Swedish furniture-maker is establishing both its physical and online footprint in the country with its 65,000-sqm store set to open later this year.
Brick and mortar shopping, however, remains as "the most important source of inspiration" for consumers, IKEA Southeast Asia market development manager Georg Platzer told ANC.
"I think, for us, the most important source of inspiration is the brick and mortar store. This is where you go, where you get inspiration, where you feel the product, you try the product, you really can a sense of how these products are going to work for you and your home and no online shopping can ever replace that," Platzer said.
The furniture-maker is known for its mock set-up of homes to sell its products.
Platzer said he expected consumers to go back to stores once the situation improves.
"If people will be allowed to go back to new normal, I think they would still prefer to still go out in brick and mortar store because this is a more 3-dimensional shopping experience rather than sit in front of a computer, which is very flat. It doesn’t give the full excitement," Platzer said.
"But if COVID is still in place and we still have to follow safety measures then we are ready to deliver a full online channel," he added.
Demand for home improvement products is also expected to boost sales once IKEA opens, similar to the behavior of consumers worldwide, Platzer said.
"People realize that it is super important to have a nice home, a cozy home, safe home...This will stay with people whether there’s COVID or not. People just fall in love with their home, I would say. I don’t think there would be a drop in demand," he said.
IKEA earlier said it would open its branch in the Philippines by the 3rd or 4th quarter this year.
The IKEA network operates in 52 countries worldwide.