IKEA visualisation notes

See the IKEA store openings data visualisation

Update, 7 April 2019: the visualisation has had a minor update to fix an issue with the map and to refresh the colours and to finally switch to Verdana. The store list has not been updated since 2014 when the store count was 347. Since then the store count has passed 422 (it will take some time to get a list of the openings in those years).

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.

Gif showing a world map with IKEA stores animated in Version 1 expansion map animation.

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 were off)
  • 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 opened a store before Australia).
  • 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 (though moves have been within the same metro regions).
  • The map isn't perfect and needs a bit more styling in a future fix — I used a Google map and gps data to make plotting the store locations easier
  • 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).