Why you might be leasing not buying your next couch

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

shironosov | iStock | Getty Images

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Before eventually moving to California, the grandson of one of interior designer Phyllis Harbinger's wealthy clients who had just graduated from college opted to rent furniture rather than buy it for an apartment he and his girlfriend had found in the New York area.

“They said, 'We don't know what we want to do. We don't want to be married to anything and we want to be sustainable,'” said Harbinger, who is the assistant chairperson of the Interior Design Department at Fashion Institute of Technology. “This generation is very much into that reuse, repurchase mentality to save the planet for them and their kids.”

Global Tech News Daily

Renting office furniture has a long history, but demand for renting home furnishings has been growing — particularly among younger consumers who favor a more mobile lifestyle than was common for older generations.

Online furniture start-ups such as Feather and Fernish offer customers the ability to rent furniture for as little as three months at a time, with the option to swap pieces during or at the end of a contract period if they're in the mood for something different.

Appealing to a young, mobile customer

Global Tech News Daily

Feather and Fernish are “responding to the need of people who have plenty of money but no time to go shop for furniture and perhaps also no desire to commit to ownership of large, bulky furniture because they expect to be moving again — and that's a younger demographic,” says Susan Inglis, executive director of the Sustainable Furniture Council.

The rent-to-buy option that these start-ups offer also appeals to people who don't have enough money to buy immediately but would like good quality pieces that they can start living with immediately, she said.

Feather's customers tend to be in their 20s and 30s, living and working in cities. The service is well-suited to people who have just moved or are about to move, live with roommates and move every six months to a year, Ilyse Kaplan, the company's president and chief operating officer, wrote in an email.

It's also more affordable for people moving to a new state, which can cost between $4,300 and $4,800, or even moving down the street in most cities, which averages $1,250, Kaplan said. Feather customers “can get set up in a basic studio apartment for as little as $105 a month, or a basic 1-bedroom apartment for $150 a month.”

Feather cited “significant growth” in new residential leases since the start of Covid-19 and the onset of remote and hybrid work, greater financial uncertainty and the need for more flexible living arrangements. “As living conditions have changed in response to the pandemic, we have seen dining room items decrease in exchange for more functional home-office pieces,” Kaplan said.

Renting furniture to be more sustainable

Brick-and-mortar furniture brands like IKEA are also exploring leasing models. For the Swedish retailer, experimenting with renting is part of a grander plan to transition to a circular business model by 2030, with the aim of eventually using only renewable or recycled raw materials, improving design principles to allow for less wear and tear when products are assembled and disassembled, and refurbishing and repurposing used goods or their components.

IKEA began testing a circular furniture subscription model in 2019, but its progress has been somewhat delayed by pandemic-related restrictions, Kicki Murbeck, circular business designer on Ingka Group's circular innovation team, wrote in an email. Ingka Group is the main franchisee of the IKEA brand with retail operations in 32 markets that represent about 90% of IKEA's total retail sales.

Building on previous tests in several European countries, the company introduced a limited roll out of a B2B edition called IKEA Rental in six markets during 2021: Finland, Sweden, Demark, Norway, Spain and Poland. Having tested several contract options, including contract lengths, and banking partners, IKEA is evaluating the results before deciding on the next steps, Murbeck said.

Inglis sees the interest in renting higher-quality furniture as a backlash against the growing popularity in recent decades of “fast furniture,” which relies on cheaper materials to cater to a more nomadic lifestyle and often ends up in landfills.

“People are tired of throwaway junk, and the furniture industry as a whole did itself a disservice years ago by trying really hard to move towards furniture that one would throw away,” she said.

Feather, which currently serves ten major markets across the U.S. including New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles, lets customers switch furniture items even during a lease period if their space, needs, or aesthetic preferences change, offering one free swap to each residential customer, and additional changes with a fee. Roughly 14% of its customers currently use the swap option.

“We're actively working to keep furniture of all kinds out of landfills” by refurbishing and redeploying every item multiple times, Kaplan said, noting furniture currently accounts for roughly 7% of all landfill waste.

While Feather's furniture is designed with durable materials and a component part system to aid that process, “when pieces are deemed no longer viable for the next customer, our first step is to work with our like-minded partners at FloorFound to find the furniture a new home. If we can't resell an item, we will donate it via our partnership with Habitat for Humanity,” Kaplan said. 

Inglis said she expects the trend of retailers offering refurbishing services to grow dramatically in the coming years.

There are customer perception challenges to solve before furniture leasing gains more in popularity. IKEA has heard customers seeking longer-term rentals express concern about how to care for products and what the terms and conditions are if something breaks or isn't treated well. That needs to be clear for both parties.

IKEA is finding that the mind shift needed to fully understand a subscription model is easier for younger consumers to make than for older ones. Gen X and older consumers tend to associate subscriptions with the rent-to-buy model, which historically has made them pay more than when buying upfront but also excludes the total scope of repair, maintenance and return services that retailers are now providing.

IKEA franchisees also will need to develop a digital product tracking system to be able to move away from a linear sales model and circulate products from one customer to another, and scale up the subscription service.

IKEA already sells refurbished and repurposed products in certain markets and plans to expand this as a key element of its circular business makeover. It also opened a second-hand pop-up store in November 2020 in a shopping mall in Eskilstuna, Sweden, dedicated to retailers that sell reused, organic or sustainably produced products. More than 30,000 IKEA products were given a second life at the pop-up store during the first year of the test period and in December 2021 IKEA extended the program for another year.

“The circular furniture subscription service that we are testing isn't only about the products as such, although they are of course very important, but is also about understanding what the customer needs and wants and to be able to meet those needs that might change over time,” Murbeck said.

By David Bogoslaw, special to CNBC.com

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Philippe Coutinho's agent has already revealed his thoughts on Liverpool transfer return

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Araujo taken in ambulance after sickening clash of heads with Barcelona teammate Gavi

Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo was taken off the pitch in an ambulance during their match against Celta Vigo and rushed to hospital. The Uruguayan was involved in a sickening clash ... Read more »

Aston Villa vs Liverpool: Report and player ratings Sadio Mane gives Reds a Premier League title boost

A much-changed Liverpool side came from behind to win at Villa Park to keep the pressure on league leaders Manchester City Read more »

Liverpool vindicated Jurgen Klopp’s risky rotation policy by doing just enough to beat wasteful Aston Villa

Klopp demoted Mo Salah to the bench and Andy Robertson from the squad but Liverpool had enough to reserve to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointment Read more »

Gary Lineker offers solution to Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy 'Wagatha Christie' case

Gary Lineker has offered a funny solution to the “Wagatha Christie” court case between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy. Coleen is being sued by Rebekah for libel at the High ... Read more »

FIFA chief Gianni Infantino announces plans to create football game to rival EA Sports

FIFA are planning to create their own football video game after it was announced their three-decade partnership with EA Sports is coming to an end. EA Sports have confirmed FIFA ... Read more »

Fabinho injury: Liverpool midfielder suffers suspected hamstring issue ahead of FA Cup final against Chelsea

The Brazilian pulled up as he sprinted after Philippe Coutinho and had to be replaced by Jordan Henderson at Villa Park Read more »

Man Utd youth coach assesses club's "exciting" kids and his own rise ahead of cup final

Justin Cochrane started his coaching career while a teenage player at QPR when he placed an advert in his local paper for juniors to teach. It didn’t make big news ... Read more »

One year on from football's social media blackout - what's changed?

More than one year on from the social media boycott aimed at tackling discrimination and vile abuse online has anything really changed? You'll remember that at the end of April ... Read more »

European transfer news: Real Madrid up stakes for Kylian Mbappe plus Casemiro exit

Real Madrid have long been linked with Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe and despite speculation the France star is set to sign a new contract with the Ligue 1 giants ... Read more »

Sadio Mane's 'childhood dream' comes to light as Liverpool star linked with summer exit

Sadio Mane 's dream destination has come to light amid links of a summer transfer to Bayern Munich. The Liverpool star is yet to sign a new contract with the ... Read more »

Jadon Sancho's Erling Haaland plea falls on deaf ears as he ignores Man Utd star's wishes

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Edu 'steps up' Arsenal transfer efforts for £17m Scotland star to replace Nuno Tavares

Arsenal have reportedly stepped up their attempts to sign Scotland star Aaron Hickey as a replacement for Nuno Tavares. After laying out the Gunners' transfer plans, technical director Edu is ... Read more »

Newcastle prepare summer transfer cull with as many as 10 stars 'facing axe'

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

5 Man City casualties from Erling Haaland transfer including brand new signing

The sight of Erling Haaland arriving at Manchester City will send tremors of terror throughout the Premier League – and perhaps to his team-mates as well – as the champions ... Read more »

Chelsea ace Antonio Rudiger signs Real Madrid contract with huge release clause

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has now penned a bumper pre-contract agreement with Real Madrid to bring his five-year stint at Stamford Bridge to an end, according to a new report. ... Read more »

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was spot on about Erling Haaland after revealing thoughts on Man Utd

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Fifth senior Man Utd figure leaves club as chief strategy officer exits in reshuffle

Manchester United have told their employees chief strategy officer Hemen Tseayo is stepping down from his position. A new era began at Old Trafford in February when Richard Arnold became ... Read more »

7 flops who cost more than Erling Haaland after bargain Man City transfer announced

The capture of Erling Haaland has sent pulses racing amongst Manchester City fans as the Premier League prepares to welcome the Norwegian hot-shot. The champions have agreed a £51million deal ... Read more »

Arsenal desperate to prevent Eddie Nketiah exit with six Premier League rivals keen

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Pep Guardiola reacts to uproar over Liverpool comments after Jurgen Klopp response

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Brighton starlet attracting transfer attention days after returning from loan

Highly-rated Brighton goalkeeper Carl Rushworth is back training with the Premier League club after his loan at Walsall ended. Rushworth made 43 appearances for Walsall keeping 11 clean sheets for ... Read more »

Lazio president responds to Man Utd's transfer 'interest' in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Lazio president Claudio Lotito insists Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is not for sale amid rumours linking him with both Juventus and Manchester United. The Serbia international, 27, has impressed for Lazio this ... Read more »

Cristiano Ronaldo's seven-year prediction on £30m Arsenal transfer speaks volumes

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Gary Lineker hits out at Patrice Evra for talking "utter nonsense" about Pep Guardiola

Gary Lineker has responded to Patrice Evra's claim that Pep Guardiola doesn't want any leaders at Manchester City due to his management. The former Manchester United defender believes the Spaniard ... Read more »

Stats show Antonio Conte justified in hitting back at Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool 'excuses'

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Borussia Dortmund immediately name Erling Haaland replacement amid failed Man Utd attempt

Borussia Dortmund have already replaced Erling Haaland by snapping up RB Salzburg hotshot Karim Adeyemi – despite Manchester United's late attempt to hijack the deal. Dortmund have been braced for ... Read more »

Patrick Vieira selects best players he played with and against during legendary career

Patrick Vieira has named Zinedine Zidane, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry as the best three players he played with during his illustrious playing career. Vieira, who is now the manager ... Read more »

Ralf Rangnick's 4 most controversial Man Utd remarks as Rio Ferdinand calls him "distasteful"

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Roy Hodgson responds to angry Watford fan backlash after his "snub" at Crystal Palace

Roy Hodson has apologised to Watford fans for failing to acknowledge them in the dark hour of relegation but insisted: “I didn't snub them deliberately.” As their relegation to the ... Read more »

Jesse Marsch quotes Gandhi, JFK and Mother Teresa in bizarre Leeds survival team talk

It is hardly “we’ll fight them on the beaches” stuff, but Jesse Marsch is using sayings by Gandhi and Mother Teresa to fire up his Leeds players for their relegation ... Read more »

Birmingham could sign ex-Atletico Madrid and Chelsea striker if Maxi Lopez buys club

Former Argentine footballer Maxi Lopez wants to sign free agent Diego Costa if he gets control at Birmingham. Birmingham’s Chinese owners are ready to sell a stake in the club ... Read more »

Jose Mourinho demands "explanation" and "respect" in furious Roma outburst

Jose Mourinho has demanded that Roma receive an “explanation” for decisions that went against them in their bruising 2-0 defeat to Fiorentina on Monday. The Giallorossi, not so fresh from ... Read more »

FA Youth Cup final 2022: Man Utd stars to watch vs Nottingham Forest, from Alejandro Garnacho to Joe Hugill

United take on Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Wednesday bidding for a record 11th competition triumph Read more »

Antonio Conte taunts Jurgen Klopp with strong response to Liverpool boss' dig

Antonio Conte has hit back at Jurgen Klopp's analysis of his Tottenham side, insisting that Liverpool were lucky to escape with a point from their weekend meeting at Anfield. Spurs ... Read more »

5 free agents Erik ten Hag could target with Man Utd summer transfer budget in question

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Man City confirm sensational Erling Haaland transfer to sign Europe's hottest property

Manchester City have announced the stunning capture of Erling Haaland after meeting his release clause at Borussia Dortmund. The Norway international, 21, has arguably been the most sought-after player in ... Read more »

Man Utd 'prepare formal bid' for Portuguese youngster who impressed Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United are reportedly preparing a 'formal proposal' for Sporting Lisbon centre-back Goncalo Inacio. Inacio, who came through Sporting's youth ranks, made his senior breakthrough in the 2020/21 season after ... Read more »

Jack Wilshere in Denmark: How Arsenal hero has fared as he provides vital assist

11 years ago this month, Jack Wilshere was fulfilling media duties for England ahead of the Three Lions Euro 2012 qualifying clash against Switzerland. Not one reporter in the room ... Read more »

Erling Haaland transfer: Man City confirm agreement in principle to sign Borussia Dortmund striker for £64m

City are still finalising terms with Haaland, who passed a medical in Belgium on Monday Read more »