Why Is IKEA Always Out of Stock? (5 Underlying Issues)

Have you noticed empty shelves at Ikea?

Is it a temporary blip or an ongoing issue?

Reasons Why Idea Is Out of Stock

Often there are singular circumstances why your Ikea may not stock the item you want, but general reasons why Ikea is out of stock include:

#1 Current Demand Outstrips Supply

If an item becomes popular or trends on Instagram, then the high demand for that item strips all the products from the shops – leaving a shortage and unfulfilled demand.

Celebrity endorsement can result in peak demand for a single item, and the challenge of getting hold of that item can result in all stores selling out within days.

Despite our desire to be seen as individuals, trends mean the herd instinct kicks in. You can date an era by its fashions, art, buildings, and furniture because most people want to be like everyone else.

#2 Manufacturing Facilities at Capacity

Ikea’s current manufacturing facilities produce a fixed amount of stock for worldwide demand, and these processes have little room to increase production to meet unexpectedly high demand.

Effectively Ikea decides how many units it makes per month and does not react quickly to changes in customer needs.

Producing stock means juggling the desire to sell more with the expense of holding unwanted stock items.

#3 Shortage of Timber

Timber is a crucial component of Ikea furniture and is not a short-term cash crop.

Ikea consumes around 1% of global timber production, making it the largest consumer of timber. Forest fires, floods, and a global pandemic can all reduce timber availability for IKEA.

Ikea plants forests to replace timber stocks, but the balance between the timber Ikea needs and the timber it replaces is currently unequal.

Alternative uses for wood for green energy and other sustainable measures increase the pressure on the price of timber.

#4 Supply Chain Issues

The Ikea business model of centralized manufacturing and shipping to global stores makes Ikea highly sensitive to supply chain issues.

Supply chain issues can be local or international, and the types of problems vary, including a shortage of shipping containers and labor disputes at ports.

In any year, one or more issues impact supply chains and result in a lack of stock reaching Ikea stores.

#5 Restocking Lag

Unlike a food retailer, Ikea does not restock its shelves every night. A well-connected Ikea store may get a weekly (rather than a monthly) supply of additional stock.

Still, that delivery is not sensitive to shortages but is more likely a planned expectation of what is selling. If an item is out of stock, it may take six weeks or more for new deliveries to replenish.

Some Ikea stores are franchises; not every Ikea store stocks the full Ikea range. Instore IKEA outlets will provide the most popular items appealing to the local market.

Despite the impression, Ikea stocks adapt to local preferences. You find a greater range of kitchen cabinets in France than in any other country.

Shortages of Specific Items

Some popular furniture ranges seem perpetually out of stock in Ikea.

Shortage of Wardrobes

Wardrobes are a standard item that Ikea provides with unique interior fitting options.

But the specific wardrobe range you want may not be available because:

  • Discontinued range – Ikea’s big selling point is the range’s continuity from year to year, but stock lines cease production to make way for new designs.
  • Longer stocking cycle – wardrobes are big items and not as quick to restock as smaller items.
  • Many components – you may be able to get the side panels but not the internal fittings you want and need.
  • More timber – wardrobes use a lot of wood; if timber is in short supply, production slows to match availability.
  • Limited storage space – wardrobes take up a lot of space in the store and have limited shelf space in the Ikea warehouse.

Ikea internal shelf units, baskets, rails, and other handy fittings are frequently purchased independently of Ikea wardrobe frames for people who like to build their own fitted wardrobes or re-engineer the interior of an existing wardrobe.

Consequently, you may face the position of some of the wardrobe packages being out of stock at any time.

Shortage of Bed Frames

Ikea bedframes fit Ikea mattresses, and these are not standard sizes. The sizes are close to the US standards for twin, full, queen, and king, but not identical.

Plus, when you buy the bed frame, you need to account for buying legs and support struts as an additional purchase.

All metal bedframes may be out of stock when metal prices fluctuate; similarly, timber issues impact wooden frames.

Ikea commissions manufacturers in over 52 countries to produce flat-pack furniture to their design specifications. If your bedframe originates in Asia and you buy it in the US, you may suffer the impact of shipping delays or increased fuel costs.

Typically, a bedframe will be available but not always your design choice.

Shortage of Mattresses

Ikea mattresses are budget-friendly and fit Ikea bed frames. You don’t get a luxury spec, and don’t expect an Ikea mattress to resolve any health issues.

But most people view an Ikea mattress as a first budget buy for a new home, buy-to-let, or student accommodation.

Ikea is surprisingly secretive about who makes their mattresses and where. The best guess is that the mattresses are mass-produced in Asia and then shipped to stores.

Any disruption to shipping will impact the availability of mattresses in your IKEA store or online shop.

Shortage of Dressers

Dressers (aka chest of drawers) come in various configurations.

A dresser is the most popular item of bedroom furniture and is in high demand.

The available stock sells out quickly, and problems with restocking can leave the shelves empty of dressers in popular sizes for months.

The reasons for a dresser shortage include high demand, a decrease in timber availability, and shipping issues.

A season of extensive forest fires can considerably reduce timber stock for the furniture trade.

Shortage of Desks

Even before the global pandemic, people spent some or all working days at home. The switch to moving the office to the house means high demand for desks.

The trend for remote working means almost every home needs an office setup that is comfortable and safe. Add in the need for students and school children to work at a desk, and you have an excess demand for the available supply.

Add in other issues, and you will find that desks don’t stay in the Ikea stores for long, as most sell on arrival.

Shortage of Storage Units

Cabinets, bookshelves, and drawers all use timber.

Along with desks, there is an increased need for additional storage for home working, leisure activities, and multipurpose home spaces.

If you live and work in a small area, you need to be able to store your stuff efficiently when not in use. Ikea’s USP is clever storage, so the stock shortages reflect Ikea’s effective marketing as their products provide a better home environment.

Storage units are a big seller for Ikea with a range that fits together, so if you are building a complex cabinet combining bookshelves and drawers, you will notice if components are missing from the shelves.

Ikea may have part of your desired range instead of the complete offering because of a combination of current issues.

Shortage of Highchairs

Ikea highchairs are budget friendly and super easy to clean.

Parent forums regularly post favorable reviews of the most popular Ikea highchairs, and, unsurprisingly, most new parents want the most popular Ikea highchair.

Popular items sell quickly, and with current stocking issues, Ikea shelves are empty for a considerable time.

Ikea’s most popular highchairs use plastic and acrylics for hygiene. Shortages and increased expense of this material put additional pressure on available stock.

Plastic is a byproduct of the oil industry and is sensitive to disruptions in oil production.

Shortage of Furniture Legs

Ikea sells optional legs for bed frames, sofas, tables, cabinets, and other items.

However, furniture legs from Ikea make excellent components for people who like to upcycle secondhand furniture, which means that legs sell independently of the intended use with Ikea furniture.

High demand can catch the Ikea store unprepared for selling out of a simple stock item like legs, and it can be a while before the store can restock.

In the meantime, there is a space where the legs typically reside.

Shortage of Couches

Couches (aka sofas) are the critical component in a stylish home, and most people spend considerable time selecting the perfect couch.

It is intensely disappointing to find your Ikea store is out of stock of your chosen item.

Couches are large items with multiple materials involved in construction. Stock outages are for all the usual reasons – shortage of materials and supply chain issues.

Shortage of Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are similar to other cabinets in form and function.

The kitchen is the room where you want the most amount of matching storage.

Storage units use a lot of timber and plastic, and supply disruption reduces available stock. Add in supply chain issues, and you have the perfect combination of circumstances to ensure at least some of the kitchen cabinets you want for your kitchen are out of stock.

A few household magazines and blogs promote the budget-friendly Ikea kitchen, and you have a combination of high demand and limited availability to leave stock levels low.

Shortage of Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture tends to be seasonal and limited in supply.

A couple of additional factors to the everyday issues may result in a shortage of outdoor furniture in your Ikea store.

High demand for a featured item – if the summer weather promotes outdoor eating and people use outdoor furniture as a substitute for hard-to-find indoor furniture – may increase the shortage.

You may buy that item if you need a workspace in a hurry and the only available table is an outdoor table.

Plus, garden tables are cheaper than dining tables – if you have a tight furnishing budget, it is a quick substitution you can pass off as an interior design choice.

Why Is Inventory So Low in Physical Ikea Stores?

Storing inventory is expensive, and each Ikea stock item has limited warehouse space, enabling the Ikea store to offer a full range of choices.

Most Ikea stores operate a lean supply chain, meaning stock arrives in limited quantities to match the point of need.

This system works well when the Ikea store can rely on regular replenishing supplies.

If a customer is disappointed on one visit, a weekly delivery with a waiting list means the store has guaranteed sales.

When supply chains stop working efficiently because of disasters like a global pandemic, war, or labor action, the regular flow of goods stops. Because the inventory is low, it does not take long for an item to run out, resulting in empty shelves.

Does Ikea Restock Sold-Out Items?

In normal circumstances, Ikea expects to restock large furniture items every five to seven days and smaller ones more often. But restocking depends on stock availability and a smoothly operating supply chain.

Issues with storage containers log jamming at ports, and a shortage of truck drivers can result in longer times to restock.

Problems with sourcing manufacturing materials can result in a lack of replacement stock.

Typically, Ikea aims to restock items that sell out within seven days, but in some circumstances, external issues may mean that target is impossible.

Does Ikea Have Supply Issues?

Climate change resulting in forest fires and flooding decreases timber stocks—oil production issues impact the availability of plastics and acrylics.

Metal prices fluctuate depending on the availability of recycled materials and new resources.

Ikea produces around 9,500 different stock lines per annum; making that amount of stock means sourcing many raw materials. Anything that impacts the availability of raw materials and getting them to the manufacturing plants will affect Ikea’s supply.

Across the globe, in any year, there are clusters of incidents that may adversely affect the flow of raw materials.

Because Ikea is a significant consumer of raw materials, even a slight snag in supply can result in Ikea being out of stock of some popular items.

Does Ikea Have Supply Chain Issues?

Global trade relies on the smooth flowing of shipping containers around the world.

Most exports and imports of raw materials and finished goods depend on the availability and transport of shipping containers. A single shipping container can spend ten years crossing the ocean before moving onto a new life on land.

However, disruptions in the shipping container process can result in log jams at ports and Ikea stores moving from being low on stock to sold out. Disturbances include labor shortages, industrial action at ports, and a shortage of shipping containers because all the available containers are in the wrong places.

In common with most global businesses, Ikea has supply chain issues as a regular occurrence.

Does Ikea Restock Sold-Out (Seasonal) Items?

Ikea will restock sold-out items provided the line is not seasonal or discontinued.

If an item is popular with customers, it makes sense to replenish it, provided an adequate supply is available.

As summer merchandise makes way for winter seasonal items, it makes sense to be happy with sold-out stocks.

A retail giant like Ikea wants to avoid having too much stock of the wrong product for the season. It may be sound business sense for your Ikea store to sell out of one item without restocking.

Ikea makes a profit on its goods, and the shelf space is now empty and ready for different things.

Can Ikea Notify Me When an Item Is Back In Stock?

Everyone is busy, and you haven’t the time to haunt the Ikea website, and by the time you get to the physical store, that item you want may be gone.

Ikea allows you to register for notifications, so you get an email alert when an item is back in stock. The Ikea website updates stocking details every 24 hours (often more quickly).

Unfortunately, you can’t reserve an out-of-stock item, and you must wait for the stock to be available before purchasing or ordering it for delivery.

How Do You Know If an Item Will Be Back In Stock at Ikea?

Ikea keeps its stock inventory online.

You can check stock availability at any physical store and availability for delivery for online purchases. The customer service team doesn’t have access to any more information than you.

You can sign up for notifications, but you can’t get a predictor of how many weeks will pass before the item is back in stock.

You can check with customer service if you think the item may be discontinued. Occasionally the product reference number changes, and periodically Ikea stops producing some product lines.


Ikea is vulnerable to disruptions in global trade.

There are likely to be issues in any given year – natural disasters, armed conflict, and labor disputes, and Ikea’s business model depends on smooth interconnectivity across national borders.

Empty shelves in Ikea are symptomatic of the problems experienced by all large manufacturers and retailers in supplying their customers in a time of rising conflict and pressure on raw materials driving up prices.

A minor incident like a forest fire or increasing fuel prices may seem unrelated, but the ripple effect results in some or many items being out of stock in Ikea.



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