Lease A Fleece
The notion of leasing is spreading from cars to clothes and other consumer goods and services, reports Ruth Bender in The Wall Street Journal (12/2/13). Mud Jeans, for instance, invites its customers to sign "a 12-month lease" on a pair of its jeans. An item that would otherwise cost about $135, can instead be had for roughly a $33 down payment and monthly installments of about $8. At the end of the lease’s term, the customer can either "decide to buy the jeans, return them, or exchange them for a new pair."
"The idea was to make high-quality jeans available to everybody," says Mud Jeans chief executive Bert van Son. Returned jeans are either recycled into new jeans or re-sold to a new customer. Based in the UK, Mud Jeans hopes "to reconnect with Europe’s cash-strapped consumers, who increasingly rely on renting, sharing or even bartering for products and services." Retailers see this as a way both to attract more shoppers to their stores, but also as "a way to build a brand" as well as "new revenue stream," according to Euromonitor’s Sarah Boumphrey.
The concept actually isn’t all that new, but a recent study finds that "68 percent of Europeans … would buy secondhand products in the years to come, compared with 58% today." Frost & Sullivan meanwhile predicts that 15 million Europeans will share cars by 2020, up from 700,000 in 2011. In a related trend, Ikea organizes rummage sales and "also lets customers sell used Ikea furniture through its websites." Rachel Botsman, author of ‘What’s Mine Is Yours,’ says companies "don’t want to be like the music industry and look back in 10 years to realize they missed the boat."