The perks of renting out an apartment or goods are seldom ever spoken about with most people aiming to own all their assets.
But since the pandemic there is a growing international trend that is seeing a preference for renting. And not just apartments, people are renting out consumer goods such as furniture, electronics and appliances.
“Globally the rental economy is experiencing an unprecedented surge,” says Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of South African based rent-to-own provider, Teljoy.
“Renting is the new retail and, while there are many reasons for this, one of the foremost is the flexibility renting offers, ultimately allowing for access over ownership.
Renting may once have had a reputation as the lender of last resort for those who can’t afford to purchase items outright but this is gradually changing as more consumers are more interested in what the US Chamber of Commerce has described as the “privilege of not owning something”.
The main attraction of a rented lifestyle is in the way it removes the hassle of having to deal with “things”.
Here are some of the perks that come with renting:
When items are rented the burden of ownership falls to the owner, and not the consumer who is merely making use of the item for a period of time.
Thus, any issues related to repair, maintenance or removal is the responsibility of the owner or, in the case of the rental economy, the business that the appliance or piece of furniture is rented from, such as Teljoy.
The rental economy has, to a large degree, taken its cue from the sharing economy, where giants like Airbnb and Uber took the notion of flexibility to a new level.
“Flexibility is one of the core tenets of our specific rental model,” Hurvitz says, referring to the fact that Teljoy clients can choose to upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at any time.
Flexibility of this nature also removes the burden of commitment and in uncertain economic times, this is the kind of value and benefit more consumers are looking for.
The coronavirus pandemic has also put great strain on household incomes, with the household debt-to-income ratio sitting at a worrying 73.7%, according to Reserve Bank data. This pressure on consumers’ pockets has boosted the rental economy as rent-to-own offers more flexible purchasing options and a risk-free alternative to high-interest credit.
“We’re finding that people are deferring the purchase and/or replacement of big-ticket items, such as appliances and furniture, and opting rather to rent these items and then finding that it makes more sense anyway,” Hurvitz says.
Will “just rent it” become the credo of the crowd with a preference for access over ownership? Only time will tell.
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