According to Alan Penn, professor of architecture at University College in London, the store is designed to confuse shoppers and lead them on a long path full of subliminal messages and cheap, enticing products.
Alan Penn, professor of architecture at University College London, UK, has estimated that 60% of purchases from Ikea are impulse buys, i.e. items shoppers didn’t plan on getting before they entered but were enticed into purchasing.
In a lecture, he talks of how the designers of the store deliberately try to confuse customers and encourage them to buy things that weren’t on their shopping list. The layout distracts shoppers, taking them on the longest route past well-placed bargains. Penn says:
I have little doubt that the design to take shoppers past every room setting in the showroom, before they are taken downstairs and led past every product in the ‘marketplace’ is completely intentional. The sinuous route that results is disorienting and confusing, and leads shoppers to put items in their trolly when they first see them because they cannot be certain that they would find them again.