To reach more consumers and foster more eco-friendly operations, IKEA is testing out renting its furniture offerings in Japan, Curbed reported Wednesday (Jan. 31).
The furniture rentals will be geared toward customers who might not be ready to purchase furniture, many items of which could cost hundreds of dollars. In addition, IKEA plans to make the initiative environmentally friendly by recycling furniture consumers might otherwise throw out. Both the rental and recycling programs aim to extend the lifecycle of IKEA products into a loop instead of a straight line.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, IKEA CEO Jesper Brodin said the pilots were part of a new approach to commerce.
“If the last decades were about mass consumerism, now we are getting towards mass circularity,” Brodin said, adding that the company is also looking into using cellulose materials for more of its items.
The move comes as consumers — particularly millennials — are opting for furniture subscriptions through startups like Feather. The startup, which launched in 2017, is renting out furniture from bedroom sets to dining room sets, by the piece or as a fully outfitted room or apartment package deal, to customers in New York City and San Francisco.
“The American dream has changed [for millennials],” Jay Reno, Feather’s founder and CEO, told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster in an interview. “People no longer want to own their own house,” with the proverbial white picket fence or several cars in the driveway. Instead, “ownership of things ties you to a specific place … and removes the ability to have flexibility” in daily life.
Reno explained that the younger generation is moving more frequently than the generations that came before, with the 18- to 35-year-old cohort moving an average of 12 times between the time they leave college and the time they buy their first homes or apartments.