Understanding the IKEA Kitchen Cabinet Shortage (And What To Do About It)

Information on how to plan your project during IKEA’s cabinet shortage
If you’ve visited your local IKEA lately, you’ve probably noticed something missing — a lot of kitchen cabinets! Our designers certainly have.

That’s because since COVID-19 began in March, 2020, IKEA’s supply chain has been greatly impacted. This means there are obstacles in stocking IKEA cabinets in the U.S. and abroad; delivery delays for purchased items, and an overall headache for everyone involved.

So if you’ve just started researching your IKEA kitchen project, you’re awaiting a kitchen cabinet delivery or you’ve got half of your cabinet order sitting in your garage waiting to be put together, you might be pretty frustrated, confused or even angry right now. As experts in all things IKEA, we understand, and want to help you out.

But first, how did we get here? According to the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the reason for the cabinet shortage is pretty simple.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit (in 2020), ocean carriers correctly predicted demand would drop, causing ships to sit empty. But by the second half of the year, companies saw a dramatic demand acceleration — much faster than anticipated — when carriers realized they needed to reconfigure plans as global economies began to recover. Meanwhile, consumers were driving demand by ordering more products for entertainment, home improvement projects, home office equipment and more — all via e-commerce at an unprecedented rate,” the ASCM Web site says.

Put another way, consumers wanted to use the time of COVID-19 to remodel their homes, decided on using IKEA cabinets, and the demand quickly far exceeded the supply. At the same time, COVID-19 greatly prohibited deliveries across the globe.

As IKEA says on its Web site: “During the outbreak of the pandemic, the lockdown [caused] store closures in many countries…and we sold more products than expected. That, combined with the increased volume of online orders and with new safety measures in our warehouses, we are experiencing significant delays with shipping and delivery.”

The recent blockage of the Suez Canal by a container ship didn’t help too. Not only did the ship block hundreds of other ships that were behind it, but the container ship that got stuck held over a hundred IKEA containers bound for the U.S. and Europe, IKEA notes.

Needless to say, IKEA customers want to know when they can expect to see more kitchen cabinets in the stores. And you’re probably seeking the best strategy for finishing (or starting!) your IKEA design for the day when you can buy again. We hope to provide some of those answers here for you now.

Let’s take a look.
IKEA Inventory Update
The main question you’re probably asking, aside from wondering where all of IKEA’s kitchen cabinets went, is “when am I going to get my cabinets delivered?”

Unfortunately, the answer appears to be that IKEA doesn’t know.

“We cannot predict [when the situation will go back to normal]. The only thing we know is that we are working hard to meet your needs. We are working intensely with our suppliers to restock our products. Your needs are important to us, and we are working hard to meet them,” IKEA says.

With that in mind, it’s important to remember that wait times can be really long – like five weeks long — or longer, depending on the item.

To accommodate these delays, IKEA has re-opened many of its stores and has implemented some alternative cabinet delivery methods and plans to keep customers appraised of inventory status. For example, IKEA will use rail transport from China to Europe to free up container capacity that will be used to ship more kitchen cabinets to the United States. The company also “encourages our customers to check online or on the IKEA app to see product availability in their local store prior to visiting. We have made stock information more accurate and data is now updated frequently.”

The company points out that products can be out of stock between customers checking and taking them from the shelf.
Plan Your IKEA Project Accordingly
So you’re probably wondering: What do I do now? Glad you asked.

If you’re just starting to think about your project, the first thing our design team recommends is to treat the situation as you would the run-up to an IKEA sales event. That means be prepared.

Specifically, we suggest you assess your space and consider how you intend to use it, noting your kitchen habits. This will enable you to narrow down the IKEA cabinets that might work best for your design (you can compare those items to IKEA’s Web site to see what is currently in stock). You can also visit third-party custom door companies, like Semihandmade, Reform, or Kokeena, whose door fronts work seamlessly with IKEA’s SEKTION cabinetry framework. Along those lines, we recommend visiting design Web sites such as HOUZZ and Pinterest to get further inspiration for your project.

With product and design research done, as well as some space planning, you’ll want to begin kitchen budgeting, including researching installer costs, and get a gauge of how quickly you’ll need the project completed. (Remember: A kitchen remodel project can be disruptive under the best of conditions, so factor in your family’s upcoming needs when scheduling your IKEA kitchen installation.)

Lastly, it’s important to remember that IKEA has incorporated some guidelines to follow when visiting its stores during COVID-19. A good way to stay informed of any changes at IKEA is to sign up for IKEA’s Family Program to receive emails with the most updated kitchen cabinetry information.

The company Web site adds: “When shopping online at IKEA, you have access to a link to track your order: https://www.ikea.com/pt/pt/customer-service/track-manage-order/. In case there is any issue with the availability of your articles you will receive a notification from IKEA, most probably by SMS (text).”

Despite the challenges IKEA is facing with its kitchen cabinet inventory, the good news is there are things you can do to minimize the effect on your IKEA kitchen project. IKD is here to guide you through the IKEA cabinet selection process and we want you to be ready when IKEA’s inventory is fully ready as well.

Learn more about how we can design your IKEA kitchen, bath, laundry room and other rooms at inspiredkitchendesign.com.
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