From Books To Bridal Gowns, Renting Emerges As An Option To Owning

By Mary Beth Breckenridge
Akron Beacon Journal

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) From handbags to prom dresses, even kitchen gadgets, the rental economy is booming. Trend watchers say renting is especially strong among younger consumers who embrace trying new things and don’t want to be saddled with obsolete or unwanted goods.

Akron Beacon Journal

For years, college students followed the same start-of-the-semester ritual: trudge to the bookstore, load up on textbooks and empty the checking account in a single transaction.

Now it’s possible to do that book shopping with a few clicks of a smartphone and still have money for pizza.

Welcome to the rental economy, where stuff is cheaper and possession is a temporary concept.

Renting has been around since long before Avis, of course, but the trend has ballooned in recent years. Today, you can rent handbags, prom dresses, even kitchen gadgets or a suit for a job interview.

Trend watchers say renting is especially strong among younger consumers who embrace trying new things and don’t want to be saddled with obsolete or unwanted goods. Some are motivated by an ecological desire to reduce manufacturing and consumption.

“More and more people are not desiring to fill their lives with things,” said Nathan Schultz, chief learning officer for Chegg, an online company that rents textbooks and provides a range of other services to students. Especially with younger consumers, “ownership is not one of their values,” he said.

It’s probably no surprise that young adults raised on Netflix and cellphone contracts would drive this rental trend. They’re accustomed to upgrading their technology on a regular basis and renting everything from the last season of Orange is the New Black to a guest room in a stranger’s house. And most of them are comfortable with online transactions, which is how most of the new rental companies do business.

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