The New Rental Economy: 5 Startups That Are Pushing Into New Categories

mars 14, 2019


Welcome to retail 2019, when no sale is ever final.


From monthly rentals to circular product swapping, more retailers are catering the whims of shoppers who are inclined to invest in what they fantasize their homes and lives to be for occasions, but not forever.


Rent The Runway spotlighted this purchasing proclivity with its recent expansion into reusable home furnishings through a partnership with West Elm. Rent the Runway follows Fernish, whose Seattle and Los Angeles subscribers can rent, trade and buy individual furnishings or curated collections. And companies such as Joymode sell rental subscriptions for items ranging from martini kits to pizza ovens.


Big brands are eyeing the concept as well: Ikea is planning a furniture leasing program in Switzerland.


Furniture is just an indicator, however. Borrowing is not low-rent; it’s high style, regardless of the items changing hands. It’s swapping — a term very palatable in the widely accepted sharing economy. Temporary purchasing in fact shares many characteristics of the sharing economy, which indicates more product categories will be absorbed into this model of consumerism.


Temporary Vanity: The Psychology Behind Interim Ownership


By extending from apparel to the home and beyond, retailers suggest the prognosis for the borrowing economy’s longevity is better than that of the products involved.



Bryan Pearson