Swedish billionaire Ingvar Kamprad built his IKEA empire from the gorund up, starting with an entrepreneurial spriit at age 5. Here's how Kamprad's can-do attitude made him one of the world's
Swedish billionaire Ingvar Kamprad built his IKEA empire from the gorund up, starting with an entrepreneurial spriit at age 5. Here's how Kamprad's can-do attitude made him one of the world's wealthiest men.
2. This man is worth billions
• This is IKEA tycoon
Ingvar Kamprad, age
• The IKEA empire is
worth $53 billion.
• The Kamprad family
owns the whole thing.
• For tax purposes, the
stops at $4 billion.
More on IKEA’s
extreme tax efficiency
in later slides…
Image source: IKEA.
3. Time’s your friend when you start early
• Kamprad started small, buying matches by the box and
selling them piecemeal at a higher price.
• Ingvar was small, too -- only 5 years old.
• He founded IKEA at age 17, using a cash reward from his
father for getting good grades.
• IKEA originally sold low-cost household trinkets, like
wallets and picture frames.
4. The first few tables and chairs
• Kamprad introduced furniture to IKEA in
1948, five years after starting the
• Early IKEA furniture was locally sourced
and manufactured, then sold at low
• But manufacturers started boycotting
IKEA in 1955, pressured by established
furniture giants as price wars with IKEA
crushed their margins.
• That was the start of moving furniture
builders abroad, keeping costs low
without losing control of the process.
Image source: IKEA.
5. The global market is bigger than Sweden!
• IKEA started expanding
internationally in 1963,
opening a store in Norway.
• The first American store
opened in Philadelphia in
• China got its first IKEA store in
• The store pictured here is a
opened recently in Chongqing,
Image source: IKEA Franchising.
6. Where IKEA stands today
• Today, there are more than 300 IKEA stores in 26 countries, with about 50 in North
America and nearly 20 in Asia.
• $40 billion in 2013 sales is nothing to sneeze at, but the company aims for
$70 billion in 2020.
• Investors everywhere would jump on a chance to own the stock, but IKEA remains
a fiercely private company.
• “I decided that the stock market was not an option for IKEA,” according to
Kamprad. “I knew that only a long-term perspective could secure our growth plans
and I didn’t want IKEA to be become dependent on financial institutions.”
• So the IKEA billions will stay in the Kamprad family… maybe not forever, but at least
as long as Ingvar has a say in the matter.
7. Two ultra-wealthy peas in a pod?
Ingvar Kamprad has a few things in common with master investor
• Buffett is known to love burgers with cherry Coke; Kamprad gorges
on IKEA meatballs.
• Both have driven old clunkers and live in modest bungalows.
• Buffett asks billionaires to give lavishly to charity, and
leads by example. The IKEA group includes the
Stichting INGKA Foundation -- at $36 billion, the
wealthiest charitable organization in the world.
• Running value-driven businesses must be easier
when you follow similar rules outside the office.
Image sources: Wikimedia and IKEA.
8. One global empire, three Dutch foundations
Image source: IKEA.
• The IKEA Group actually includes three
foundations in an elaborate tax-
• The company left Sweden’s high taxes in
1973, moving headquarters to Copenhagen,
• Headquarters eventually ended up in Delft,
Netherlands, as Kamprad donated his IKEA
shares to the Delft-based INGKA foundation.
• Wholly owned by the Kamprad family, the
INGKA foundation owns the business
operation companies and can only use its
cash in two ways: charitable causes and
supporting IKEA operations.
• Think of the Netherlands as a European
Delaware – a popular location for
registering businesses thanks to company-
9. Kamprad faces some controversy
For all his folkiness, Kamprad also has his fair
share of critics and scandals:
• As a young man in the mid-1930s, he
supported a Swedish Nazi-style party and
befriended its leader.
• IKEA opened its first Israeli store in 2000,
and Kamprad spent two chapters of his
book, Leading By Design: The IKEA Story,
apologizing for the Per Engdahl episode.
Regardless, some will never forgive him.
• IKEA’s extreme tax efficiency doesn’t
seem to fit with Kamprad’s gung-ho
support for Sweden elsewhere. IKEA
spokespeople say it’s just good business
10. It’s never too late to go back home…
• Ingvar Kamprad is back to his roots after a long trip abroad.
• He moved to Switzerland in the 1970s, with loud protests against the heavy
Swedish tax burden.
• But since the fall of 2013, he’s back in Småland, Sweden -- where it all began.
• Far-right governments have reduced the Swedish tax load in recent years.
• Kamprad’s second wife, Margaretha, died in 2011, leaving him with few real
ties to the Swiss homestead.
• As IKEA keeps expanding across the globe, its aging father simply went back
home. It’s really a small world sometimes.