Usership vs Ownership: We Use It, We Don’t Want to Own It.

The mobility sector started it long ago - Drive Now, Car2Go, Tier - we no longer want to own a vehicle, we just want to get from A to B in a fast and convenient way. But the mobility sector was just the beginning - access over ownership is wanted in many other product categories as well. A whole new industry based on sharing or renting everything from household essentials, clothing, electronics, and even furniture, is springing up, posing a disruptive force to traditional retailers. 

Together with market research company Appinio, circuly, a B2B subscription management software, conducted a study to find out what products consumers want to use, and not own. 

76% find the concept of ‘renting instead of buying’ appealing  

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Renting a product instead of buying it means using it for the time that we need it. It is a tempting offer - 42% perceive renting especially useful if the product is only needed for a certain duration. Other reasons for renting were to obtain a product at a lower price (34%) or in a more convenient way (33%) as well as in order to simply try the product (31%). For every fourth of the respondents, renting instead of buying a product is a way of sustainable consumption. 

Young or old - the concept is liked by every age group

The results show no major difference between the generations. Both, the 18-year-old Gen-Z and the 45-year-old Gen X have already rented products instead of buying them. While the younger respondents prefer renting E-Bikes or E-Scooters, the older respondents favor renting electronic goods. In fact, 50% of 35-45 year old have already rented electronic goods - mostly from Saturn, MediaMarkt, OttoNow, or Grover. 

And 91% would do it again … 

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The ‘most wanted’ in renting

Product categories of most interest for renting instead of buying is Leisure Equipment and Books. Around 70% or the respondents can imaging renting e.g. camping tents or hammocks and a good novel for the next holiday. Other than that, also E-Scooter and E-Bikes, as well as fitness equipment and baby products show a high demand on the consumer side.  

usership vs ownership

The concept of access over ownership and renting started out around 2013, with carsharing and bike-sharing. The revenue of companies in the Sharing Economy skyrocketed since then - according to a PwC study, it multiplied by x22 since 2013. And now, consumers can almost rent anything. This study showed that the demand for renting products is rising and the consumer mindset is adopting in various product categories. 

Usership over ownership is the driving economic force that will forever change the way we consume. It is high time for companies to include product as a service business model as part of their revenue streams or else they will miss out an evergrowing customer segment that wants flexibility, access, sustainability over ownership.


What products would you like to rent instead of buying? 


If you want to find out more about the acceptance of renting instead of buying, you are welcome to contact me.

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