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The New Generation Prefers to Rent Instead of Buying

Many millennials prefer to rent things rather than purchase. In the field of outdoor gear, such consumers are already more than a third.
The American company Recreational Equipment, Inc., better known as slightly REI, engaged in goods for camping and active recreation, decided to expand sales of used equipment and its rental significantly. It would seem that it is unusual? But the fact is that this news characterizes exciting changes in the market and the change in the right approach to consumption.


Earlier, REI has already initiated sales of goods for any reason returned by buyers after purchase. Now, in the company's stores, things that were in use will be sold permanently. As the company's practice shows, there has been a steady increase in consumer interest in such purchases. Also, many millennials (according to REI - more than a third) prefer to rent equipment rather than purchase it.

As part of its annual report, REI said that its sales in 2018 grew by 6% to a record 2.78 billion dollars. At the same time, a twofold increase in the rental of goods was noted. The company, which has 154 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, expanded the lease program by opening rental centers in 85 stores in December last year. This year, 115 stores will be covered. REI also plans to open six new stores this year, some of which will be located in modern states, including Vermont and Alabama.

The frame from "Camping" series from HBO with Jennifer Garner.

It so happened that when a person needs a product, he goes to the store and buys it. However, consumers from the millennial generation no longer wish to surround themselves with too many things. For many cases, it is much more convenient to rent a thing than to spend money on its purchase, further maintenance, and storage especially when it comes to things like snowshoes, skis, snowboards and various camping and mountaineering kits sold at REI stores.

We live in the era of the emergence of new opportunities; people continuously want to try something new. Here are just buying for it all in a row, will mean constant significant spending where it is easier to rent goods. For example, you want to go with your family for a few days to nature. This will require special equipment, from tents to flashlights. You can spend a significant amount and buy it all. Or save and purchase used items. And then rent them. After all, it may be that you will not like outdoor recreation and all purchases will be in vain.

But the point is not only that such an approach allows for a good saving. He also contributes to the preservation of the environment. The fewer things are produced, the less pollution, the less later the garbage in landfills. Today, many environmentally conscious buyers claim that it is very important for them that brands become more and more “green”. And there are more and more such companies.

An excellent example of a circular economy (by the way, REI uses its term - “re-commerce”) is the well-known brand Patagonia. The manufacturer not only actively uses recycled materials but also provides free repair of clothing. And the company is also engaged in the restoration of used clothing for its subsequent resale.

Another example is women's clothing brand Eileen Fisher. Products manufactured under it are created almost exclusively from natural materials. To reduce waste, the company began a recycling program. Buyers donate their “neatly used” items in exchange for gift certificates. After dry cleaning and restoration, clothing is resold.

And how not to recall the company Rent The Runway, which earns on the rental of designer dresses and accessories. Interestingly, initially, it was only an online service. Today, the company began to open retail outlets in many US cities.

The emergence of such companies is a sign that the market is continually changing, and many brands are ready to follow the latest trends. One of which is to make things more accessible to everyone, while at the same time reducing damage to the environment. And the business model, according to which a thing should serve only one season, and then go to a landfill, can become a matter of history.

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