IKEA store openings notes

See the IKEA store openings data visualisation

First off, credit for the initial idea should go to FlowingData and the Walmart & Target expansion data animations (FlowingData Walmart map). When I first saw those flash movies two things came to my mind, that Walmart exists outside the US (they acquired a chain in Canada, expanding north initially in only one year) and mapping IKEA would show a different visualisation.

I set about collecting the data and looking at the flash/flex source files provided, and also looking at other ways to visualise the information. However this side project has been stuck on my computer for sometime, the prospect of cleaning the data (and sourcing all the GPS data in an efficient way) was delaying me, but I just needed to ship the first version.

Some points to consider:

  • It's not done: this is version 1
  • The data is not perfect (and apparently some of the spellings)
  • The data is for current stores, recognising when a store entered a market and if it's still present (for example, a number of sources have pointed out that the first Canadian and North American store opened in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in 1975; as a Vancouverite I'm conflicted in admitting IKEA didn't open there first, however this means Canada could have opened a store before Australia).
  • Adding a store in the past is also slightly difficult presently due to the way I coded the page; I need to return to the source data and re-compile fresh html
  • The animation shows store openings however it doesn't show store closings (there have been only a few) and most importantly many stores have moved and expanded over the years which is also not yet shown
  • I'm battling the Verdana vs. Helvetica dilemma. Verdana *is* brand appropriate for IKEA, however there are few weights available on the web and while I also prefer Helvetica, the visualisation be consistent with my site. (Here is a Verdana version though)
  • The map isn't perfect and needs a bit more styling in a future fix
  • I have some ideas to add a little more polish so watch for version 1.1

Thanks for checking out my little side project. And many thanks to all those who have Tweeted me kind words and feedback (especially correcting store spellings).


Since launching the visualisation, a few sites have written about it:

Buzzfeed: Watch Ikea Take Over The World In One GIF

Consumerist: Idle Away Your Lunch Hour Watching IKEA Stores Rain Down Upon The World

Gizmodo: Watch Ikea's March to World Furniture Domination

A discussion on Reddit

A Swedish publication contacted me at one point, though sadly I haven't been able to find the article online (lost in translation).