Walk into the crowded shopping market in Delhi and you find, located in the middle of all fashion stores, a glamorously well-lit store that claims, “LIKE RENT LOVE BUY”. A statement making a dent in the World of Weddings and big spends, this is a declaration of the era of End Of Ownership.
While the world of fashion is waking up to the norms of Sustainability, and the businesses endorsing it are being nailed against the wall by the ever-demanding consumer, here comes another trend which cannot be ignored.
While the rental business is catching up in all walks of life, the customer is happy to use and return the goods, from furniture to cars, from mobile phones and other devices to fashionable clothes.
Though this trend has made its inroads in the western countries since a few years, we can clearly see the Indian consumer catching up fast too.
A chance encounter led me into this store in Rajouri Garden Market of West Delhi, for its catchy name IOJO, only to catch up with the brain behind the venture – Anil Kumar, a designer and a Management Graduate.
Very happy to share his experience of conceptualising this business, Anil seemed very upbeat to be someone who understands the pulse of the consumer. Just 3 months old business, and already profitable. Anil feels while the going is good, he can foresee certain challenges coming up his way as he plans for expansion for a wider reach to the vast customer base and an untapped market opportunity. He admits that there has been a lot of learning coming from the market and from other players in the space. While International success stories like Rent the Runway & StockX are inspiring to give you confidence, there have been some domestic ventures which have faced rough weather too. Flyrobe and Rent It Bae have been the front runners and are struggling with their own challenges of scaling up.
It is not only Fashion, especially Occasion Wear, that is endorsing the End Of Ownership doctrine. Other lifestyle categories like Furniture and White Goods have been in this space since quite some time. New entrants in the space are Car companies like ZoomCar, Revvs & Myles.
Rentomojo, which was earlier focussing on Home & Office furniture has now recently introduced rental of Smartphones too. You can today hire the latest model of an iPhone for a year and then change it with their new models soon as they get launched without any loss. Just give the old one back and swap it for a new one on rent.
So, what are the factors that is encouragement for the consumer to adapt to this new trend. Some of the key factors are:
1. Convenience of Non-ownership
2. Economical Proposition
3. Hassle-free Lifestyle & Consumerism
4. Convenience Vs Acquisition
While End Of Ownership may not have reached a critical mass as of now, but it is clearly evident to be catching up with the younger lot of consumers. The fashion businesses are also becoming more purpose-led rather than purely focussing on profits-at-any-cost philosophy. It will be interesting to see how this trend fuels startups like IOJO.