IKEA has identified a huge shift in how people shop

According to one IKEA executive, we’ve hit “peak stuff.”

“We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff… peak home furnishings,” IKEA sustainability chief Steve Howard said on a Guardian Live panel on sustainability, reports Quartz.

With Western countries hitting their limit in terms of consumption — something Howard and the panel agreed was a positive from a sustainability standpoint — it is time for business to begin looking globally for customers.

“If you look on a global basis… most people are still poor,” said Howard. “There’s a global growth opportunity.”

While most IKEA locations are located in relatively wealthy countries in North America, Europe, and Asia, the company is currently on an expansion push. Dozens of locations are planned to open in countries including India, Latvia, and South Korea in the coming years.

IKEA is additionally investing in sustainable offerings, with the goal of creating a “circular IKEA” in which customers repair and recycle products.

Historically, IKEA is best known for inexpensive offerings that aren’t necessarily made to last. However, the company focusing on health and sustainability as it prepares for the future.

Recent IKEA prototypes like chargers that transfer body heat into phone charging electricity signal the future of the brand. Innovative products that are inexpensive, green, and unlike anything else on the market give Western consumers a reason to keep shopping — even if they have already reached “peak stuff.”

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