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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-
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
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.