Findings from a research done in 2004 done by the The Center of Future Studies, UK states:
- our need to own everything from a home to all its contents will have to change
- we are moving into an age of renting and sharing from one of buying
- in the coming years, it will be far more acceptable to rent anything from property and cars to electrical equipment and computer hardware
10 years since the research and the prediction seems to be coming true. There are a number of factors driving the need and acceptability of renting:
- A smaller world: the wide reach of social media and internet connectivity
- The younger generation has different attitudes to renting. They do not measure people’s worth on the strength of their possessions alone and are more open to the idea of renting, sharing and lending.
- The growing desire to use and access everything available from technology, cars to high end products and services
- Sustainability: if we rent more, we would consume less and hence the need to produce less. Thus, renting leads to better utilization of resources (raw material, finished products, infrastructure etc.)
- A growing realization that we can’t own everything we want
While the idea of renting and sharing is gaining momentum, it is still not as convenient as buying online. There is a strong need for better accessibility, transparency, technology and innovation. In the last couple of years, several start-ups have come up with solutions to bring owners and renters together with the slogan – “Why Buy when you can Rent?”
RentMasti.com was one of the first movers in this space and now has presence in more than 12 Indian cities with a verified network of more than 2000 vendors. Some other start-ups in this space our RentMojo, RentGini, RentSher, iRentShare etc. that provide an online platform for renting and sharing products from various categories.
Some of the key challenges faced by start-ups in the renting and sharing domain are:
- How to build critical mass? prospective renters won’t come clicking until there is a good selection of lenders, and vice versa
- The TRUST factor? Do owners really want and are comfortable lending their laptop, bike or camera to a stranger? Companies are creating a feedback and rating mechanism to establish trust.
- Transitioning from offline deals to online
Renting and sharing, other than real estate and cars, is a relatively new segment which has potential despite the initial challenges. Start-ups have so far focused on creating an online platform for renting and sharing and at the same time they are working on promoting the concept of renting. However, for a scalable business model, there is a need to innovate the business model.