In the world's most wired country no longer are gadgets the hottest items to have. The simple lines and modern design of Ikea furniture are finding a niche, not as a cheap alternative to high-end furniture, but as unique pieces holding their own in a nation obsessed by luxury.
Many websites are offering “Grey Market” Ikea products and a few have even set up miniature Ikea stores in some of the suburbs surrounding the capitol. Far from furnishing the dorm rooms of college students and recent grads, this furniture is bound for the homes of the young trendy fashonistas that inhabit uber posh Cheongdam-dong and shop in trendy boutiques lining the streets of Apkujeong.
The owner of one such “Ikea” store about an hour drive south of Seoul says that business is good. While his showroom has been met with moderate success, the real profits come from internet sales. His vast site has nearly every product available in the catalogue. If he does not have it, he can get it. It just takes a bit of time before it will arrive from the shelves of Ikea Shanghai and be delivered directely to your door.