The Ikea catalog is now a nearly four-hour podcast

PHILADELPHIA -- Everyone has a podcast - even Ikea.

The Swedish retailer has transformed its annual bible-sized catalog into an audio version as a "handy and hands-free" alternative to the traditional behemoth. Ikea's 2021 catalog, which is its final edition ever, is now a nearly four-hour podcast with a narrator flicking through each page and describing what's in it.

Ikea explained in the prologue that it made this to give bored, home-bound people something new to listen to.

"We know that by now, you've probably binged through every possible podcast, audiobook and 'Best of 2020' playlist there is, so maybe you could use some new soothing sounds to put on while we all continue for normal life to get back to ... normal," the narrator said.

Think of it as a "tour for your ears," the narrator said. Each audio chapter focuses on a different furnished home from the traditional catalog as well as offering how-to tips on furnishings and decorating. The audio is available on YouTube, Spotify and Audiobooks.com for free.

Ikea has recently placed a heavier emphasis on digital sales and marketing as customers gravitate toward online shopping.

Its online sales got a big boost during the pandemic as millions of people turned their homes into makeshift schools and offices, with sales surging 45% over the 12 months to August. In January, Ikea rolled out an improved mobile app that finally allows for online shopping.

Ikea announced last year that it would be discontinuing its print catalog. The company cited the increasing shift to online browsing and shopping for the end of the 70-year-old publication.

Later this year, Ikea will release a smaller book that will be "filled with great home furnishing inspiration and knowledge" and celebrates the catalog's history.

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