From armchairs to iPhones, Indian millennials rent everything

MUMBAI: At 29, Spandan Sharma does not own a flat, a car or even a chair, one of an increasing number of Indian millennials who circumvent traditional norms and choose to rent everything from furniture to iPhones.

Millennials in my age group want freedom and what used to be seen as stability now looks like a sign of being tied, Sharma told AFP.

My parents do not understand the concept of renting furniture at all. They have never completely agreed with the idea, he said.

They said it would be much better to buy furniture than rent them in the long term.

For Rs 4,247 ($ 60) per month, the Mumbai-based executive furnished his entire house, acquiring furniture for his bedroom, living room and dining room, as well as a refrigerator and microwave.

Sharma is not alone. Tens of thousands of young Indians are changing from buying to rent to be able to live life with few conditions.

Even companies are renting their office furniture, said the fledgling businesswoman Vandita Morarka.

When Morarka created her One Future Collective feminist collective in 2017, she rented almost everything she needed and channeled the savings of not having a single outlay to pay salaries to her staff of 25.

From study tables and chairs to a laptop, I have rented them all because the prices are reasonable, the 25-year-old told AFP.

This system allows me to take more risks ... And in case things go wrong, we can end up without losing a large part of the investments and start somewhere else.

From transportation applications to communal office spaces, the shared economy is a global phenomenon that is expected to generate annual revenues of $ 335 billion by 2025, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In the USA In the US, websites such as Rent the Runway and Nuuly offer fashion-conscious customers the option to try instead of buying clothes, while in China, consumers can rent BMW just by touching their smartphone.

In India, the boom has driven the emergence of new furniture and appliance rental companies, such as RentoMojo and GrabOnRent, and even jewelry rental applications, in recent years.

The sector is a bright spot in the midst of a severe slowdown, as the weakening of consumer demand has led to the drop in sales, even in the automotive sector.

The furniture rental market in the country is expected to be worth $ 1.89 billion by 2025, according to Research Nester.

We expect to grow by one million orders in less than 30 months, RentoMojo founder Geetansh Bamania told AFP.

The Bangalore-based firm rents furniture, appliances, gym equipment, iPhones and smart home devices like Google Home and.

Smart phone rentals work well for young people, as they can continue to upgrade to the latest release at a cheaper price without spending their finances, Bamania added.

Launched in 2012 by former investment banker Ajith Karimpana, Furlenco has served more than 100,000 clients and expects revenues to cross $ 300 million by 2023.

General consumer behavior is going from owning to renting among millennials due to the flexibility and non-commitment it offers, Karimpana told AFP.

In an indication of the trend's staying power, Swedish furniture giant Ikea has said it plans to test a subscription-based model in 30 markets in 2020.

For many millennials, choosing the rental option is both about taking a less traveled road and saving money.

When Sharma's father was 29 years old, he was married, worked in a public sector bank and set aside funds to buy a flat and buy a car.

Sharma imagines a different life for him, focused on investing in experiences.

Living in five different cities in two countries over a period of seven years would be unthinkable for my father ... but it is my reality, Sharma said, adding that some furniture rental applications offered free relocation services.

It is a pride for millennials that we can pack and move in a matter of weeks.