Earlier this month, the Swedish furniture giant Ikea and the American speaker company Sonos released a much-anticipated collaboration, launching two Sonos-powered speakers that are designed to look like furniture.
Much of the attention on the partnership has focused on the strategic implications for Ikea: Ikea has made a concerted effort to design smart-home products, such as smart light bulbs and blinds, but reviews have been mixed. A smart speaker created in tandem with Sonos—a reputable, design-forward brand—stands to burnish Ikea’s reputation as a source for quality smart-home goods.
But what does Sonos get out of it? Yesterday, the Santa Barbara, California, company announced that revenue in its “other” sales category, which is reserved for products outside the company’s core range of speakers and home theater devices, was up 221% thanks to selling its technology modules to Ikea to make the Symfonisk speakers. Call it the other Ikea effect.
To be clear, Sonos is still losing money overall, and the “other” category represents a small part of its overall revenue, but the Ikea partnership is helping to curb some of the company’s losses.
In a letter to shareholders, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence highlighted the company’s work with Ikea as part of an effort to release products that appeal to a broader swath of consumers than Sonos’s current offerings—after all, you can get relatively high-quality speakers for less than the typical Sonos speaker. The Ikea partnership expands Sonos’s reach, with some affordable, well-designed (if not perfect) products. The Symfonisk speakers are available in 300 Ikea stores. And even if people don’t pick up a Symfonisk speaker, the cobranded collaboration still introduces more people to the Sonos brand—nearly one billion people strolled Ikea’s aisles in 2018.
The Symfonisk line consists of two speakers, one that looks like a square block and is meant to double as a bookshelf ($99) and one that doubles as the base of a lamp ($179). Both types of speakers come in black and white. The speakers connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and can be controlled via the Sonos app. They can also be coordinated with any other Sonos speakers you might have to play music across rooms.