In my day if you didn’t have something, you saved and then bought your own. Millennials don’t – and can’t – do that.
There are so many demands on their financial resources that saving is really hard, and when you don’t have a space of your own, you don’t have to imagine no possessions - that’s a way of life. So, instead of owning things, they borrow things. They replace ownership with ‘usership’.
From clothes and cars to pets. Renting is the way forward for this generation. It could be that they’re less materialistic than the older generation, or that they would rather spend their hard-earned on experiences rather than 'things'. They believe that access is pretty much the same as owning.
So who are the winners and losers in this new economy?
Well, obviously owners who can make money from their unused or vacant possessions are up on the deal. Companies like Airbnb, Home-Away and Onefinestay allow homeowners to make cash from their houses while they are away by letting them out. And film and music were some of the first into this sharing economy with Spotify, Amazon Prime and Netflix at the forefront.
But there are more esoteric markets where sharing is taking off. Like fashion. Clothes-borrowing sites such as Rentez-vous, Girl Meets Dress, My Celebrity Dress My Secret Dressing Room and One Night Stand are becoming more and more popular, allowing the owners to make a little extra money out of their forgotten or unloved outfits by setting their own rental price and cleaning options.
Thus the fashion conscious can wear the latest high-end pieces without the hefty price tag. And while you’re at it, why not hire the bags, shoes and jewellery to go with your clothes? A whole outfit can be borrowed for that special occasion with high-end jewellery rented from Diamond Thrills or Hot Rocks Hire and a designer handbag from The Handbag Rental, Cinderella Me, Designer Handbag Hire, Fashion Hire or Handbag Hire HQ.
Even pets aren’t immune to this new way of consuming, with Pet-borrowing agency BorrowMyDoggy connecting vetted pet lovers with dog owners. Allowing them to walk their canine for free, while DogVacay lets owners send their dog to someone's loving home rather than a kennel while they go on holiday.
Why do they do it? Well, apart from the obvious short term financial advantages, two thirds of people are hoping to live a less materialistic lifestyle, and only 50 per cent believe that owning things is a good way to boost their social status.
Others may appreciate the greener benefits, with the popularity of car sharing growing thanks to sites such as Liftshare. Parkatmyhouse also offers drivers somewhere to park at reasonable prices, making money for anyone with an unused drive.
If you’re thinking of doing some work around the house (which many millennials don’t have a clue how to do, but anyway), thanks to Rentmyitems you don’t even need to own a drill. You can borrow everything from power tools to white goods and lawnmowers.
The bad news for manufacturers is that this sharing economy is growing. Take the auto industry. One car shared is equal to up to seventeen cars owned. Think about that. That’s an 94% reduction in market size by the time car sharing is likely to reach its peak. And that’s without the easily shareable autonomous vehicles appearing on the roads.
There is good news for some companies though. There is a market that still wants to buy things. That still believes in the benefit of ownership. And those people (you guessed it since you’re reading this on the Sterling website) are the over 50’s. And since the rest of this website is dedicated to convincing you that we’re the best people to use as a conduit for your marketing to them, that’s enough said.