Rising awareness of sustainability will drive apparel rental market

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More clothing consumers are turning to rental companies such as Rent the Runway and Hirestreet, rather than buying brand new items they will only wear once, with 8.6% of UK clothing buyers renting clothes for Christmas 2022.

As a result, the market is expected to grow 101.2% to $9.9 billion between 2022 and 2026, predicts GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s most recent report, “Global Apparel Rental Market & Forecasts to 2026,” reveals that between 2016 and 2022, the apparel rental market grew 89.3% to $4.9 billion.

Pippa Stephens, Garment Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “While rentals suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic as events were canceled leaving consumers with little incentive to rent occasionwear, the boom in weddings and other formal occasions in 2022 created a huge increase in demand, with rising expenditure. above pre-pandemic levels.

“The emergence of new rental platforms such as By Rotation and Nuuly since 2019 has also boosted the growth of the clothing rental market in recent years, in addition to the fact that many operators have started to introduce other product segments that are infrequently worn or have a short lifespan. span, such as ski wear or children’s wear. More brands and retailers are also joining, including H&M, which introduced rentals in its flagship store in London, and Flannels, which launched its own rental platform, both in November 2022.”

Rental platforms also provide consumers with a way to access more expensive brands that they cannot purchase directly. This is particularly attractive given the crisis in the cost of living as consumers cut back on clothing. 66.0% of UK consumers cite this as a key driver when renting clothes for Christmas 2022.

Continued inflationary pressures are also creating the opportunity for more platforms to introduce a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) option, allowing consumers to lend products that would normally remain unworn in their wardrobes to earn extra money.

Stephens concludes: “The rental market is expected to experience strong growth through 2026, as landlord awareness increases and rents normalize. However, it will be limited by concerns about hygiene and fit, as well as rentals’ focus on occasion wear and formal wear, both of which have fallen out of favor with consumers due to the casualization trend. It is also often difficult for operators to become profitable due to high supply, maintenance and cleaning costs, meaning it is likely that some players will struggle to survive.

“These restrictions will hamper the potential of the rental market, with resale continuing to be a much more popular circular shopping method because it is more accessible and established, with spending expected to reach $338.4 billion by 2026.”

*GlobalData’s monthly UK survey of 2,000 nationally representative respondents, conducted January 2023.

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