Where should I rent furniture
We rent living space, cars, tools and now furniture. The sharing economy continues to grow and with it the demand for rental furniture. This comes mainly from young people who remain independent, but at the same time do not want to do without a stylish interior. How exactly does the furniture rental work? What makes you so attractive? And which providers have already recognized the trend?
The “rental furniture” offer currently seems to appeal primarily to young, flexible interested parties. Photo: La Miko on Pexels
Sharing economy: sofa and table on subscription
Those who live minimalistically only want to own little. Renting furniture is only logical, after all, we also rent cars or technology. Purchasing furniture can be expensive and involves a commitment. And who knows what's trending tomorrow and where it's going. For the moment, rental furniture that can be conveniently ordered online is sufficient.
Most offers work on the same principle: sofa, table or mattress are rented for one or two years, at the end of the rental period the customer can decide whether to extend the contract, return the piece of furniture or buy it. An amount is charged every month for the rental period. The longer the rent, the lower the monthly fee. Subscription furniture - delivery, assembly, collection and maintenance included.
Millennials prefer to rent
Furniture rental is therefore aimed primarily at so-called millennials - i.e. those born between 1981 and 1996. Compared to older generations, their lives are more flexible when it comes to their job or home. When a better offer beckons, they pack their bags. In addition, there are increasingly fixed-term employment contracts and short-term rents, which make it difficult to set up for a long time.
The scarce living space in cities also contributes to the fact that young people hardly ever buy furniture - they simply don't have enough space. According to a study from the USA, they prefer to spend their money on technology, clothing or experiences such as going to a restaurant, only 4.5 percent invest in furniture. Sustainability, flexibility and trend awareness are important to them. The perfect prerequisite for temporary furniture.
Challenges in the furniture industry
Millennials can hardly imagine a life without digital media. The furniture industry is also feeling this. Young people in particular prefer to buy furniture online. It no longer seems important to see the piece of furniture in the shop - in an emergency, the customer just sends it back. The focus is more on service: short delivery times, goodwill if you don't like it, new trends and limited offers are always in demand.
In addition, the aspect of brand loyalty is decreasing: Young people in particular place more value on individuality, they choose the product that is best for them and make less decisions based on the brand. This trend poses a major challenge for companies: How to retain customers when they are difficult to grasp?
The younger generation values flexibility and prefers to order furniture online. Photo: Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels
Rental furniture: first attempts by Ikea & Co.
Otto has been renting out electrical appliances under the Otto Now brand for a number of years. The range is wide: e-scooters, coffee machines, exercise bikes, smart robotic vacuum cleaners. For a while, tables, chests of drawers, and more were also offered for rent. However, the rental furniture is currently no longer available (as of September 2020).
The Swedish furniture store IKEA started several test phases with rental furniture in 2019. For example, various pieces of furniture and combinations were made available in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The rental should become an integral part of the company strategy, the project is still in the planning phase.
Rental furniture ensures flexibility when the requirements for the facility change. Photo: cottonbro on Pexels
Furniture rental as a new business idea
The idea of renting furniture has also sparked startups. With Lyght Living, two young women from Berlin started the rental of designer furniture. The startup has since been bought by Furniture Leasing and has been called Lyght Living Furniture Leasing ever since.
It wasn't quite as successful for Roomovo and Readymade. Both startups went on the market in 2018, but ceased business after a relatively short period of time.
So is the furniture sharing trend just hot air? Despite the growing willingness to rent rather than buy, the market for rental furniture in Germany does not yet seem lucrative. However, if you take a look at other countries, you can guess where it will go.
A look across national borders
Mobility has long been an issue in the USA. People move where there is work. It is therefore not surprising that companies such as CasaOne, Feather or Fernish are successfully renting out furniture. Young people in Germany are similarly mobile, question old structures and value flexibility, individuality and sustainability. They are the customers of tomorrow and renting furniture could become the norm for them.
The corona pandemic is also causing change: Numerous people around the world have switched to the home office, many would like to keep that. In Japan, the lifestyle chain MUJI recently reacted to this: With the new IDÉE brand, MUJI has been renting office furniture for the home since June 2020. A new concept that could also gain momentum here.
Read more about the current trends that are moving the furniture and furnishings industry in our article “How will we live in the future? ".
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