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What's old is new again. While rental furniture is not a new concept, the rental market is ripe for innovation right now. First-time Gen Z apartment-dwellers are leading the way.
Think back to your student self: You’re young. You’re über-ambitious. You’re ready to toss aside your graduation cap and take on the world that lies beyond the school-gates. But as you browse through places you can see yourself living; as you comb through job openings and rental listings, it suddenly hits: The places you see yourself living in are... kinda expensive. The rent in New York’s a little more than even you imagined. Nights out on the town with friends in London, Sydney or Auckland are pricier than you bargained for.
But not to worry — especially if you’re a cyber-savvy member of Gen Z. In today's digital economy, there are roughly one-million-plus ways (everything from digital incentives to ride-sharing apps) Gen Zs can make their post-college living easier and more affordable. Even when it comes down to furnishing their apartments, there are new online services that enable Gen Zs to deck their pads in style without breaking any padlocks to bank accounts.
What’s the biggest fiscal challenge Gen Zers face apart from owning a home or a car? As it turns out, it’s furniture. According to calculations by forrent.com, the average person spends around $8,200 in apartment furnishings. That’s a ton of money right there — and not the best possible way to dig yourself out of student loan debt, let alone begin planning for retirement (something Gen Zs increasingly are doing).
So, what’s a Gen Zer to do? The answer is both simple and elegant: Rent your furniture. Subscription-based furniture rental companies are already on the rise in many harder-to-afford markets around the world — and Gen Zs are down for the savings. After all, given how the average student moves roughly 12 times throughout the time they’re in college, why get attached?
Take a company like Feather, for instance, whose platform subscribers can browse through a who’s-who list of name-brand furniture companies including the likes of West Elm, Joybird and Casper. Whether it’s a tree-stump side table for $15/month or an elegant sectional sofa for $72/month, Feather’s a safe bet for Gen Zers who don’t harbor any illusions they’ll be living in their first-ever studio apartments for the rest of their lives. What's more, Feather's flexibility is just right for Gen Zs, who can renew, swap, buy or return their furniture when their flexible-length plan is up.
Larger companies like IKEA are getting into the “furniture sharing” business mindset, too. As they just announced, the Swedish home furnishings giant is conducting a trial run for a furniture rental program in Switzerland. Not only does IKEA see a huge profit potential in furniture renting, it also sees a positive environmental impact. Indeed, adopting a “full-circle,” reusable model for its furniture is set to play a key part in IKEA’s plan to reduce its climate footprint by roughly 15 percent by the year 2030.
In comparison to their Gen X and Millennial predecessors, Gen Zers aren’t messing around when it comes to realizing their futures. By and large, they see themselves as a generation of homeowners, vehicle owners and business-owning entrepreneurs. More importantly than vision, though, is the actual drive they possess. Studies consistently show Gen Zs are willing to sacrifice immediate creature comforts in order to achieve long-term success.
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