Ownership is going down in the 21st century. From homes to clothes and accessories, anything can be rented nowadays, allowing you immense flexibility.
For those who often get bored with their home decor and like switching it up, Ikea’s new business model is an attractive concept. As reported by The Financial Times, the company’s furniture subscription model will allow you to lease furniture of your choice and return it after the rental period is over.
In a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, IKEA CEO Jesper Brodin suggested that these moves are an attempt to align the brand’s offerings with changing consumer needs. “If the last decades were about mass consumerism, now we are getting toward mass circularity,” he said, replacing the traditional straight-line relationship between business and customer.
The pilot program is currently ongoing in Switzerland, which started rather recently in February 2019. When you return the furniture, Ikea will clean it up and refurbish it before sending it to the next customer. As this is still in its experimental phase, there is no mention as to whether they plan to roll it out to the 38 countries they have operations in.
The potential good: people would be able to change their furniture and home decor with ease, not needing to pay hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for one piece of furniture. It’s perfect for those who prefer this kind of non-committal purchase (yay for the sharing economy!). Some psychology suggests why we generally prefer renting to buying nowadays.
The potential bad: Ikea is not exactly known for high-quality furniture, but more so for affordability. It would be hard to ensure the durability of the furniture as time goes by, as wear and tear is inevitable with use.