Retail rental platforms have quickly made their way to the forefront of recent trends in the industry. However, for these up-and-coming brands to truly thrive in the market, they will need to have Gen Z on board.
According to our recent study on Gen Z’s purchasing behaviors, this generation, aged 7-23, make up 40% of USA consumers and represent $143 billion in buying projections for 2020. These youngsters hold a lot of power — especially when it comes to retail.
While Gen Z is the generation most willing to invest in fashion brands that promote sustainability, one would think rental options would be an easy option – however, it’s the opposite. To them, it doesn’t feel like a sustainable clothing solution, says Ben Harms, Director of Insights and Strategy at Archrival. Younger generations primarily believe that delivery and returns often make rental platforms a less ethical option.
Another reason for Gen Z’s lack of interest is due to authenticity. They feel that retailers who produce large volumes of inventory while trying to launch rental platforms aren’t authentic and would rather purchase from resale sites instead.
Although Gen Z isn’t ready to experience the world of rental apparel yet, that doesn’t mean they never will be. Taking an omnichannel approach to rental platforms could be a possible solution. If retailers incorporated a brick-and-mortar option into their online rental experiences, it may be more fulfilling for Gen Z’s. Especially because Gen Z prefers people over processes, and 67% shop in brick-and-mortar stores most of the time.
Rent the Runway, which started out as a pure-play online retailer, has recently opened four physical stores in the past two years. This has allowed the rental company to appeal to consumers who want the option of both online and in-store shopping experiences.
There’s no doubt that Gen Z’s are customers who are willing to embrace new opportunities and experimentation. However, for rental companies to gain Gen Z’s support they may need to deliver a retail solution that better meets their needs and habits.
“For Gen Z, rental is not there yet. They are still longing to see better and more dynamic solutions in this space,” said Harms.