As the rental and resale market continues to swell, brands and retailers need to change their business strategies and key into why shoppers are attracted to these buying models, said Thomas Sineau, senior intelligence analyst for consumer retail at CB Insights, in a research note today.
Sineau also coined a new term for this trend: It’s the “assetization of the economy” where personal goods are being “treated as assets.”
“With consumers valuing experiences over possessions, a rising number of goods categories — clothes, furniture, jewelry — are becoming available for rent or resell, or even split into shares that can be traded,” he said. “And this is a trend that brands can no longer ignore.”
Sineau said the resale channel is making it easier “for goods such as sneakers or handbags to change hands multiple times before eventually being recycled or destroyed.” CB Insights said it expects the global luxury resale market to surpass $50 billion by 2024.
Simultaneous to this growth, the analyst said retailers and brands can expect “fractional ownership platforms” to grow and include a range of goods such as luxury cars and jewelry as well as art where consumers own shares of a specific luxury item.
“While still nascent, the assetization trend is clearly set to change the way goods are owned and consumed,” Sineau said. “To make the most of this trend, brands need to start rethinking the way they design products.”
This would include designing products with “constraints” as well as products designed for longer life. He said this means “making products that are more durable with materials that are resistant, easy to clean and repairable. In a few words, strong standard design.”
Product design would also need features that make it more personalized. For example, in furniture, Sineau said, removable covers would be ideal — or “resizable clothes to complement standard design.”
And with rental goods, Sineau said companies need to figure out who actually owns the goods. “If brands cannot count on consumers to pay upfront for the cost of the goods they consume, they will need to adapt their business model,” he said, adding that brands may want to “rent out part of what they produce and keep it on their balance sheet.”
“In which case you should expect new classes of asset-backed securities to emerge in order to finance this new business model,” Sineau said. “You should also anticipate rental companies to become important firsthand buyers as more and more consumers subscribe to their service, thus gaining significant purchasing power over brands.”