The trend of renting tech products is on the rise again – particularly among younger generations. Here’s why this is happening, and what it means for you.
– Interest in renting tech products has gone through waves of popularity during the last century – in different forms
– More and more young people are renting products rather than buying them outright
– Reasons for this include the cost of living crisis, increased flexibility and environmental concerns
Those who remember the 20th Century will know that renting games, DVDs and other tech was something of a norm.
The 1980s saw people rent televisions and video recorders. Radio Rentals dominated the market until the cost of high-value tech goods dropped. Consumers were now able to afford the items outright, causing interest in rental to decline.
Years later, film lovers flocked to video rental shops like Blockbuster (remember them?) to lease the latest movie release before dropping it back the next day. Gamers will also remember during this period renting out the best PlayStation or Nintendo games for a few nights at a time.
By the mid-2010s, the trend had vanished altogether. The Great Recession – coupled with DVD-by-mail services like LoveFilm then streaming giants such as Netflix – once again changed the face of the rental market. And now, it’s coming full-circle once again
Recently, a new rental trend is emerging among Gen Z (those born from 1997 to 2012) and Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996). Just like the 80’s, this wave is again focussed on high-value items. Namely to allow people to rent a phone, games console or other tech product. Many retailers are starting to expand their offering in this way.
In fact, a recent study by musicMagpie looked at the ‘Rental Revolution’. It found that the UK is now a nation that loves to rent, rather than buy.
55 per cent surveyed said they believed renting individual items is much more normalised now than it was five years ago. 53 per cent said they no longer felt they needed to own things, as was reported by the Mirror.
Below, we outline 5 reasons why tech subscriptions (especially for items such as games consoles and phones) is the new Gen Z and Millennial trend.
1. It means you can avoid paying full price
The cost of games consoles and phones has soared in recent years. If you want a PS5, it’ll set you back around £450 – and that’s before you’ve even bought a single game to play. The latest iPhone can cost over £1,000 to buy outright.
While some of these items – like phones – are available on a contract, being tied in for two years or more often isn’t an option for many. That’s especially the case given the current cost of living crisis taking hold of the UK – with essentials such as electricity, petrol and food rising quickly. Circumstances change, and people are looking for contract-free, pay-as-you-go options to meet their needs.
2. Rent a phone to keep up with the latest tech
For Gen Zers and Millennials especially, keeping up with tech trends means using the most advanced cameras and features available.
Having the chance to rent these items allows you access to the best tech, no strings attached, so you can seamlessly upgrade cost-free.
It also means should the item break or stop working through no fault of your own, it can be sent back to the retailer and replaced free of charge.
3. Rent a game console and try before you buy
Even for those on middle and higher incomes, buying the latest tech outright is a big investment.
Imagine being able to test the latest iPhone, PlayStation, or Xbox to try it out and see whether it’s worth shelling out for – before comitting. You might find that coveted item isn’t for you, and by doing so save hundreds of pounds. Alternatively, it may convince you it is most definitely worth the investment.
4. Rental and subscriptions give you more flexibility
The option to rent high value items frees up vital funds for other products on your wish list.
That means instead of being in possession of one high-value wish list item it’s taken months to save for, you could buy (or rent) a second. Or, given the uncertain economic climate, those extra savings could give you that little bit of extra financial comfort.
5. A lower carbon footprint
MusicMagpie’s survey found that younger generations see a rental lifestyle as being less wasteful to the planet.
With the product sent back to the retailer after use, you’ll be promoting a circular economy. So crucially, with more people able to benefit from those items, that in turn means less waste – and fewer of them ending up in landfill.
The past century has seen various shifts in how we consume tech. At DivideBuy, we help hundreds of online retailers stay ahead of the game by expanding their checkout options with our retailer financing solutions.