The 400,000-square-foot store opened in Hyderabad, Telangana, to more fanfare than the company expected. The megastore, which covers 13 acres, drew over 40,000 visitors on its first day, India Today noted. The highways outside were clogged with customers.
This despite the store arranging three external parking lots to accommodate customers.
But once folks were parked, they just couldn't get inside fast enough! A stampede ensued at one point:
I am sure most of you must have seen this viral video already. For those who didn’t-these are scenes from Ikea store in Hyderabad. Day 1 madness? Mgmt must have had atough time dealing with such unexpected crowd. #IKEAHyderabad #IKEA @HiHyderabad #Hyderabad #Telangana #IKEAINDIA pic.twitter.com/mmF56hBcIs— Rishika Sadam (@RishikaSadam) August 9, 2018
The lines were long, but at least social media was amused by the reports. One netizen suggested the idea of moving one's feet was unknown to the customers.
Another thought maybe the throngs of people were confused, thinking that IKEA meant "god" and they were lined up outside the Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh's Tirupati, the world's most-visited holy place, famous for its long lines of pilgrims.
Got a WA message saying "Are Indians thinking #Ikea meant god; lining up outside like they would in Tirupati!" 😂— Adithya M Reddy (@AdithyaMarri) August 9, 2018
But why the rush? One person suggested perhaps residents of the City of Pearls had been living all this time without any furniture in their houses:
Once inside, Hyderabadis spent an enormous amount of rupees: over 95 lakh (9.5 million rupees) on the first day.
Much of that went toward home decor, of course, but also very popular was the store's 1,000-person restaurant, by far the chain's largest and perhaps the world's largest, India Today reported.
The restaurant carries Swedish staples like meatballs, as all IKEA stores do (although these have a different recipe to accommodate Hindu and Muslim diets), but the other half of the menu is Indian staples like samosas and biryani, the latter of which the store sold 20,000 meals of on its first day!
The retailer said it expects to set additional sales records through the weekend. IKEA also hopes to open a second Indian store in Navi Mumbai next year and is exploring further sites in Karnataka and Delhi.