TOKYO -- Ikea will start buying back its baby furniture in Japan next month to defend its market share against the growing trend among consumers of purchasing or sharing secondhand goods online.
The world's largest furniture retailer, which has become synonymous with affordable furniture that buyers assemble themselves, hopes the trade-in program will encourage thrifty new parents to buy its cribs and other products that children outgrow quickly.
Ikea also plans to offer furniture rentals in the country within two years, in what is expected to be the Swedish company's first such service anywhere in the world.
With housing starts declining, Japan's furniture market has shrunk to about half the peak in the early 1990s. Ikea Japan's sales fell 3% to 74 billion yen ($679 million) in the year ended in August 2017.
Customers can trade in baby furniture and power tools at nine of Ikea's 10 stores in Japan starting Friday.
A customer bringing in a crib within 90 days of purchase will receive a prepaid card loaded with half the purchase price. A credit of 40% will be given for cribs brought back within 180 days and a 30% credit provided for trade-ins made within 365 days.
Secondhand shopping is disrupting other areas of retail, such as apparel, where the trend has propelled the growth of Japanese unicorn Mercari.