Here's Why IKEA Is Discontinuing Everyone's Favourite Shelf

Here's Why Ikea Is Discontinuing Everyone's Favourite Shelf

Expedit, we hardly knew ye. IKEA recently announced that the popular shelving system is not long for this world, and the internet responded with rage. But there's a really good reason for IKEA to get rid of Expedit. In fact, it's not really going away at all.

Ikea says it's replacing Expedit with a new line of shelving, called Kallax, beginning in April. The furore over the decision has been swift — especially from vinyl collectors, amongst whom Expedit is something of a cult item. In fact, there's even a 20,000-person strong Facebook page devoted to saving the easily stackable shelves.

But chew on this: IKEA uses a whopping 1 per cent of the world's wood supply. That's 17.8 million cubic yards of wood. Much of that goes into making the wood veneer you find on many of IKEA's most popular products, including Expedit.

Now, let's look at Kallax. IKEA reports that the internal dimensions of the system are exactly the same as Expedit — so Kallax will still fit your vinyl collection just fine. So what's changing? The thickness of the wide outer edge that makes Expedit so distinctive. It seems like a minuscule change to us, but it's not. Sales numbers for Expedit aren't public, but we know that IKEA sells some 41 million similar Billy bookcases a year.

Here's Why Ikea Is Discontinuing Everyone's Favourite Shelf

If IKEA can cut even a centimetre of wood on each of those products, it will save massively on material costs. It's also going to help them make good on their claim of sustainability. Right now, 25 per cent of IKEA wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (which certifies that wood is legally and sustainably sourced). Last year, they pledged to increase that number to 50 per cent within five years. And when you're selling hundreds of millions of products a year, even the smallest savings count.

So this decision probably has nothing to do with design, and not much to do with stirring up excitement — though that doesn't hurt — either. It's just good business at a truly massive scale. So mourn for Expedit — but remember that it's being replaced by basically the same thing, and it's coming from a more sustainable company.

Still, it's sad to see Expedit proper go. As the proud owner of one unit, it's by far the most photogenic shelf I've ever owned (see below). Drop your own images in the comments — who knows, maybe Ikea will change its mind.

Picture: Isa Costa



    Aw man, those heavy edges make the bookcases really sturdy and hard to tip over, making them perfect for kids' rooms. I hope this change doesn't affect its sturdiness.

      I've got an Aldi version of the Expedit style shelf and it already "features" the slimmed down sides/top/bottom. It is nowhere near as sturdy as the current IKEA model so I think this is a bad move by IKEA.

    I use an Expedit as the "2nd" part of my desk. All my monitors go on it and then a real desk sits in front for my keyboard and mouse. Works so well.

      that sounds like a rad setup! got any pics?

        Sure :)

          My God! I think I'm in love! I've only got a duel monitor setup at home :)

            20" Dell, 30" Dell, 20" Dell. PLP (Portrait Landscape Portrait) isn't all it's cracked up to be though. I'd love to be able to game more on it but the only "real" way to do so at the moment is playing a game in Windowed mode and spanning across the 3. Which works ok but has its own issues. So I mostly just game on the 30"

            BUT: That said, productivity wise it's great having the side monitors for low priority stuff. Now if AMD or NVidia can start supporting PLP properly... thaaaat'd be great.

              Are you using AMD or Nvidia? I know with my AMD setup if i add extra monitors i can use the Eyefinity system for setting it up well?

                NVidia, but before that I was on AMD with Eyefinity. The thing about Eyefinity is that it requires all monitors to be sized equally. It doesn't know / care that the smaller monitors are being used as 1600x1080 monitors instead of 1080x1600. It just sees "Hey, you've got a 1080x1600 monitor. Let's get all your monitors set to that resolution, hey?"

                Both NVidia Surround and AMD Eyefinity behave the same way in regards to PLP setups.

                  ahh ok. yeah i hadn't looked to far into it as im only using a 2 x 27" setup. But that's annoying.

                  @rethilgore - Yep, it's quite annoying. I've considered going to something more conventional like 3x 24" in landscape, but I just love the giant screen real estate I get from a 30" monitor. And when photography is a side hobby, a giant + properly colour calibrated monitor is a must have. So with PLP I will stay... for now.

    Cubic yards?
    This is definitely about saving money, not being sustainable. Solid, robust products are more sustainable because they last longer. My guess would be this is less sturdy than a Billy bookcase with a missing/broken backing board (just me?)

      Veneer = bad.
      I've bought solid wooden shelves, desk, coffee table, TV stand at a premium but they'll still be perfect when I am dead.
      The environment pays once for generations of use if you look after them.

        Not really sure this is accurate. Since they pay for ever increasingly certified sustainable wood - and given steps like this are so that that can one day hit 100% - it means for every tree they take, they often plant 2-4 more.

        In the end of the day, wood will become a crop just like anything else except slightly more long term. To quote penn and teller, nobody would say the potato is in serious trouble because humans use so many of them.. There's more potato's now than there ever was because it simply makes financial sense.

          I find it more satisfying and suastainable buying from local carpenters/cabinets makers using locally grown sustainably harvested eucalypts that have been made under acceptable work conditions, haven't travelled across the globe requiring mega-litres of diesel for ships to transport (counter acts any sustainable certification - in my mind) and doesnt use plastics or glues in the veneer.

          I 'had' veneered goods when I was younger and over time they all peel, absorb moisture and become land-fill. Not preaching - just stating an alternate view of this popular but imo, destructive consumer good. And yes I use other shitty products like PCs and I own a car which is why I feel the need to make far more ethical choices on products that can be natural and support local expertise and forestry.

          Just reminded me of Wooden-Bender from Futurama....lolz

          These products all have a calculated obsolescence, and they are priced to reflect that. I prefer solid wood furniture because it will always be sellable, and very rarely will find it's way to the tip. Unlike majority of IKEA furniture.

          This is simply a business decision. Ikea will most probably charge the same amount for the new shelving unit as they do the Expidet, but the real difference is that they will save money in 2 ways.

          1. Less materials used per shelf = greater profit per unit.
          2. More shelves in flat-pack will fit in a shipping container, which means it will also be cheaper to ship a larger amount = more profit per thousand units.

          Don't think IKEA flat-pack furniture to save you money - they do it to save them money in selling assembled goods, and to increase the quantity of goods able to be shipped for the same price. This is just another example of this.

          Potato = 6 months
          Pine tree = 10 years
          Bit of a difference.
          As others have mentioned with solid timbres, most MDF and chipboards are made from pine which grows relatively quickly where as your hard woods take decades. yes they last longer but the time and water etc to produce them. The cheap pine I think still is more environmental and economical. PS I am a fan of hardwood most of my speakers are made from hardwoods.

            It's not really a difference. It's like the stock market, you can trade on any timeframe - from 1 minute charts to 1 month charts.. As long as you know what you're in for it makes zero practical difference.

            In the end, unless they harvest all the trees within that 10 years, it makes no difference. And that is quite logistically impossible and impractical (since there's not that bigger market even heh).. So..

    in our house we have three of the 4x2 one of the 4x4 one of the 1x4 and two of the 2x2 expys they are the best modular type shelves.

    "billy the bookcase says hello"...

    The thickness is the issue. Probably won't make any difference if you are stacking books, but a lot of Vinyl records can be pretty heavy. I think the record collecting community is worried that the thiner walls won't stand the pressure of a few thousand records. My Expedit is getting full, contemplating buying a larger one now in preparation.

    I hate the Kallax look, not only does it appear cheap (besides being cheap to make) it'd be far more likely for them to fall over without being bolted into the wall. If my Ikea Malm desk looked like that I wouldn't have bought it

    They've gotten rid of the high-gloss white laminate for some reason... introduced a bunch of coloured laminates, but got rid of white. Why??? So bloddy annoying. We just did two rooms in the white gloss last year, came back to finish our next two rooms, and they've gotten rid of the white gloss. Now I am looking around at knock offs, because the matt white just won't work.

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