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Renting vs. Buying

More companies are offering subscription services
Posted at 8:49 AM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 14:17:37-05

If you're like most people, you have a closet full of clothes you bought and never wear.

So yesterday morning, we showed you how clothing rentals are becoming popular and it's part of a larger trend of renting versus buying.

Buy it, bag it, own it.

It's been the American way for generations and even longer.

"We're gatherers, hunter gatherers. We are actually hard wired, this is true, to collect things."

Tens of thousands of years of human behavior is on full display during the holidays.

But we are evolving from the Ubers we take instead of buying cars to the subscriptions we use for movies and music to countless clothing rental services.

So we're going 360 - asking is renting the new American Dream?

You'll hear from a marketing expert buyers and renters and companies that are catering to a new kind of consumer.

"People don't want to be tied down by physical things in their life."

Jay Reno founded "Feather," a furniture subscription, after moving 7 times in 9 years.

"We had bought a nice new sofa, which we had to move in ourselves, and when we had to move it up the stairs it just wouldn't fit up the stairs," Reno says.

With "Feather" someone else delivers your furniture, assembles it, and when you no longer want it you send it back.

"7 percent of all landfill waste is furniture."

Sustainability is one reason more people are choosing to rent.

But Heather Preonas says she rents clothes for style and convenience.

"You just open them you wear them, and you send them back you don't even have to wash them."

She uses "Gwynnie Bee" one of dozens of clothing subscription services.

People are doing this for everyday outfits and traditional retailers like "Ann Taylor" and "Express" have gotten into the game.

Heather pays $85 a month for four pieces at a time.

"At first I thought ooh that's too much but then I kind of priced out what I was spending on clothes I owned throughout the year and it's about the same."

And she doesn't have racks of clothes she never wears.

"About that much, that's all you have in your closet. That's about all I have."

Renting sounds like the perfect solution to overstuffed closets but business Professor Darrin Duber-Smith isn't convinced this is the future.

"I think the recession sort of changed a lot of attitudes, and there was some arrested development, lots of purchases have been delayed."

The millennial generation is said to prefer experiences over possessions but that could still change as they get older.

"This desire to have more things probably isn't going to go way. I believe there are some categories where we will say I'm willing to share this, and there are other categories where we'll say, you know what I want my own."

There are some things that are harder to imagine renting especially if health or safety are involved.

Michelle Fisch owns baby stay rentals, all the baby gear she rents out meets regulations.

All the baby gear she rents out meets regulations.

"Car seats and strollers and a few other items have expiration dates, so we have to be very careful of expiration dates and making sure everything is within regulation"

She says customers are always surprised by the variety of things they can now rent.

"Toys, toys are huge"

You can get these online too, subscription services for all kinds of toys.

For a growing number of people, renting means freedom.

"I don't need to own it, it's accessible to me at any point."

But for others buying means forever.

"I still have a closet full of stuff from high school, I just have trouble getting rid of things."

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