Starting Monday, Ikea is piloting a limited buy back and resell service in suburban Philadelphia, with the goal of rolling it out to all U.S. stores permanently, the company said in a press release.
For now, customers enrolled in the company's loyalty program can bring "fully assembled and functional IKEA furniture" to the company's Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, location from Aug. 30 through Sept. 19.
Furniture deemed appropriate for resale "based on condition, age, and functionality" will be sold in the store's "as is" section, per the release. Outside of the U.S., the company offers the resell service and has previously tested furniture leasing.
Rummage sales and thrift stores have long offered home goods and furniture along with apparel and sundries, making Ikea's move a logical one in the burgeoning secondhand market.
That's also seen at ThredUp. The site's own resale specialty is clothing, but electronics and appliance giant LG recently signed on to ThredUp's resale-as-a-service platform. DTC home brand Floyd, which like Ikea sells flatpack goods, recently established its own "circular marketplace."
For Ikea, the buyback and resale program is part of an effort to be circular and climate positive within the next decade. The idea is to make sustainability "affordable for the many," according to a statement from Jennifer Keesson, country sustainability manager at Ikea U.S.
Some 9.7 million tons of furniture and furnishings including sofas, tables, chairs and mattresses ended up in a landfill in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The idea is also likely to gain the attention of younger consumers, who are increasingly judging companies by their sustainability records. Ikea has previously tested and established urban concept stores to appeal to millennials, and there are indications that Gen Z may be even more adamant about businesses taking steps to combat climate change and other environmental and social issues.
"We hope the Buy Back & Resell service inspires our customers to live a more sustainable life at home while giving their used furniture another life and a second home," Keesson said.