Renting, not owning

23 February 2009 at 9:10 am 2 comments


Andrew Curry writes:

Our Executive Chairman Crawford Hollingworth popped up in the pages of the Sunday Express – in an article about the Japanese trend for renting out pets (journalists, eh?). It’s not online, it seems, but the trend is big in Japan but not so big in the UK, where a company that tried to launch a dog-leasing service has been criticised by animal organisations and MPs; and has been put on hold.

Crawford’s not known as an expert on pet trends, but he saw the phenomenon as part of a wider trend moving away from full ownership to part- or “fractional ownership”, in which we can get access to something when we need it.

“We grew up with the belief that we needed to own and accumulate, and maybe the concepts of ownership and accumulation will fundamentally change. We will perhaps be happier renting something instead.”

The trend seems to be strongest right now in the transport sector, with outfits such as Streetcar and Zipcar developing pay-per-use cars, and a range of city bike-use schemes being launched. Members get access to the vehicle for a few hours, with transactions smoothed out by a combination of mobile phones and smartcards. Although it seems like a ‘recession trend’, it was moving quite quickly before that, because of concerns about consumption, resources, and a desire to ‘declutter’.

Tools seem likely to follow suit – community ownership schemes for irregularly used tools, such as drills and lawn mowers already exist. They make sense when times are tight, and digital sensors makes tracking and monitoring use far easier.

The image at the top of this post is from Timeless Tools.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Manuela lavinas  |  23 February 2009 at 4:29 pm

    interesting, they jsut mentioned a website where people can rent to and from each other today on Money-Watcher and the financial tiems did a piece on renting being the new buying this weekend

    not sure about pets! but a BBQ, playstation or fondue set… drills are useful but how often..? and how boring, honestly. there might be an opportunity for new busiensses to emerge it seems.

    seems everyone is talking about renting this week. maybe i can rent my stuff and make some cash at last…

  • 2. Sophie Garrett  |  3 March 2009 at 8:00 pm

    There are so many things that could easily be shared, that’s why I started yours2share to encourage this. The concept of fractional ownership is slowly permeating with fractional schemes for property, boats, aircraft etc, mainly sold by commercial agents.

    However what really interests me are private syndicates, currently these are usually for boats, aircraft and horses. But as the idea grows I hope people will look for like-minded partners to share a wider range of items that are closer to home: cars, tools, equipment (lawnmowers and sewing machines), jewellery, even dogs!

    You can share in many ways, joint ownership and regular or fractional rental (everyone uses the lawnmower once a week). It just requires a little imagination and careful discussion at the beginning, together with a written contract is the items are high in value.


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The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

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