India is Gearing Towards Rental Economy

Ruchi Sharma, Co-Founder, Pustakkosh Rentals Headquartered in Noida, Pustakkosh Rentals acts a one-stop-shop for renting books and other stationary items required by students with close to 75 percent discount on each item purchased.

India is increasingly gravitating towards rental or shared economy; specially the youngsters changing attitudes towards consumption and ownership. This reshaping of economy is about providing access, comfort, saving money and convenience affecting the rise of technological driven social companies across all sectors - to rethink their business in order to survive. Online rentals economy, a new concept - a new way of consuming based on usage is being built by web start-ups which deliver products and services at a fraction of cost either by renting it themselves or serving as middlemen, connecting people in want to those owning these, thereby redefining consumerism. The Internet has created a technology-driven economy on a platform which easily connects owner of products and services to users for the ultimate 'experience' without buying or owning it.

Mindset Changing
Though traditionally, Indians have a preference for owning. Be it a house, a car, expensive jewellery or good clothes. This mindset is also changing now, from owning and keeping to changing and reusing. And if seen on a larger frame, we find that renting itself is not a new phenomenon. Even 25 years back, individuals with transferable jobs who used to shift base every two years used to rent furniture, books, car, bike, videos. However, the process of renting has been then fragmented. The business is now not just taking a more structured form but also expanding to include every thing from clothes and accessories to even sharing of financial resources and, in a rare case, pets.

According to Price water house Coopers, the sharing economy will generate potential revenue of $335 billion by 2025 globally. In India, just the market for rental of furniture is seen at around $800-850 million. Rental of electronic appliances is a $500 million market and bikes $300 million, which adds up to a cumulative $1.5 billion market. Today, big E-tailers are changing the ownership based e-Commerce with companies for cab hailing service, movie ticketing platform, furniture rental coming into existence. Feeding this e-Commerce boom are rental start-ups, thanks to digitalisation. Short term utility requirements and luxury items are no being bought but are now becoming affordable for youngsters at a fraction of
the cost is the key. Burgeoning companies in India like Rentomojo, grabonrent, rentickle for furniture, consumer electronics, Pustakkosh for textbook and other student needs, RentitBae for fashion goods, Drivezy, Zoomcar for cars etc are focussing on different facets of Rental Economy.

Young students or working professionals are looking for attractive and pocket-friendly options which facilitates them to shop better and smarter

Millennials Reshaping Economy
Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) are reshaping our Indian economy as we know it. These youngsters be it the student, young bachelors or young trend-setters don’t see rental as taboo but as a smarter way to live. Their attitudes and purchasing decisions are driven by ‘sharing, rental economy’ the norm today, as it provides immediate access at a cheaper cost. These market drivers wants a fancy lifestyle and do not believe in hoarding or ownership as an option. This is a dynamic young generation with dispensable income on the move are unsure of what city they want to settle down. The concept of working in the same organization for 25-30 years has long faded for the demography of 25-35 years olds as they are looking for different experiences and hence change jobs. They believe in travelling light with no excess baggage, so it makes sense to rent the products they want for short-term from furniture, cars, bikes, books, designer wear, adventure gear, and others.

Young students or working professionals are looking for attractive and pocket-friendly options which facilitate them to shop better and smarter. With temporary requirements and fast changing trends, renting saves the guilt of acquiring furniture, designer clothes, sports equipments, medical and health equipments, electronics etc which has given rise to new rental service providers.

New Rental Service Providers
In the last three years, close to 100 online rental service providers have come up that provide everything from bikes, car and, books to clothes, toys and even diamond jewellery on rent, according to data by Tracxn, a data analytics company. Two-thirds of these firms have come up in 2017 alone. Their target user is someone who wants a good lifestyle with surplus disposable income. Likewise, individuals who rent furniture and home appliances are in the age bracket of 22-35 years; have an income of more than Rs.5 lakh and mostly work in metros or tier-1 cities. Why buy furniture, books (be it text, reference or fictional novels), consumer electronics (ACs, microwave or a washing machine), sports equipment, bikes, musical instruments etc. There are options to rent designer dress wear to fancy watches at a fraction of cost. This is the basic reason why the demand for the access economy is growing as these needs are temporary for small periods and owning them is not the most viable solution as this stuff ends up on shelf or storage.

According to an OLX study, Rs. 78,300cr of items are lying unused in Indian households. The latest report for 2015-16 prepared by OLX and market research firm IMRB found that on an average, every Indian household is stocking 12 clothing items,14 kitchen utensils, 11 books, seven kitchen appliances, two mobile phones and three watches. Such a huge stock of unused owned items is a testament of the upcoming online rental economy boom with a mix of pay for usage, affordability and convenience aspects.

The rental economy will in 2018 no doubt see a surge in startups, having a subtle, but deep effect on traditional retailers and businesses. The younger consumers may most likely stop purchasing everyday items which will have a shelf life without actual acquisitions, but likely to rent out items from rental websites for special occasions or events or temporary needs no doubt leading in a shift in shopping behaviour as today’s technology makes borrowing possible at a broader scale, and between strangers.