Try as we might, sometimes not keeping up the Joneses is easier said than done. The pandemic certainly brought that to the fore, with people replacing fancy holiday plans with fancy furniture and appliances for their humble abode.
The notion of renting instead of buying in order to create an idyllic escape at home also became more widely acceptable, as Australian company Snaffle has discovered since launching in August last year.
With a wide range of products available to rent from one to three years (think televisions, mattresses, dryers, barbecues and robot vacuums), since opening Snaffle's furniture rental sales have doubled and staff expect this will continue to grow in 2021.
We asked Snaffle's COO John Stafford about the rising popularity of furniture rental and why it might be worth considering in your home.
How long has renting stuff been a thing and why did it transpire?
People have been renting electrical appliances in Australia for more than 80 years as a way of avoiding the upfront costs of high value products.
For many years the essential ethos behind the industry remained the same, but the dramatic changes of the past decade has seen a huge change in consumer behaviour and requirements that needs reflecting.
These include researching your products online, purchasing online, expectations around delivery and a more general change in consumer behaviour due to the subscription economy.
We're seeing a change in Australian behaviours and habits, but subscribing to music platforms, TV and movie streaming services, and online fitness training platforms was especially evident during the height of the COVID pandemic early last year.
Furniture especially has seen a significant rise due to an increase in temporary living and renting. Affordability is a large factor of increased renting, as it makes living in certain areas or having certain products more attainable.
Who's the typical market for furniture rental in a house?
The market for furniture rental has developed to include renters and students often on the move, benefitting from access to furniture they cannot purchase in full and find in the BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) system.
According to IBIS World, the market size of the furniture, appliance and equipment rental industry in Australia is expected to increase 6.2 per cent in 2021.
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What are some examples of when renting would be preferable to buying?
Renting provides the ability to access better quality products that you may not be able to afford with a one off purchase. It provides the ability to be able to get the products that you want straight away without having to save up for them.
Examples could include moving to another city for a year and wanting to furnish your home for a short period of time. Renting is a great option for those who don't want to purchase products or if you're indecisive about a product and want to trial it.
Situations like this could be applicable to university students, or people on the move who're often relocating.
How does delivery work?
Delivery is included in your rental price so there are no extra costs for consumers once they've chosen a product, and the delivery company will depend on the product ordered.
What happens if your dog wees on the couch or someone steps on the robot vacuum?
Items are covered by the manufacturer's warranty in the first instance, but in the event the warranty has expired Snaffle will cover the goods for the duration of the rental period. Dog wee isn't usually included in a warranty though!