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When 22-year-old Ashish Sharma shifted from Noida to Mumbai for his MBA, he decided to rent furniture, to furnish his house. “I wanted a good, comfortable and stylish study table, wardrobe and a bed. It made sense to rent furniture, as I was living on rent. Nowadays it is easy to rent furniture online and there is plenty to choose from,” he says.
Renting furniture can be a practical option for students, expats and those living temporarily in a metro city. “If one owns a home, it makes sense to buy furniture. However, if an individual likes to experiment with décor and have different styles of furniture, renting is good option. Online furniture rental websites offer the option of swapping furniture, free relocation and even offer good deals, if one rents furniture for a long duration,” says Amit Wadhwani, director of Sai Estate Consultants.
“Many brokers who deal with rental homes, also have references of businesses that offer rental furniture and appliances. Brokers are no longer simply in a business of selling and renting houses. They also provide additional assistance, to enhance their recall value among customers,” Wadhwani adds.
Rental furniture: Who are the takers?
According to Ajith Karimpana, the founder and CEO of Furlenco, an online rental platform with services in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Gurugram and Noida, “Urban millennials (aged between 23 and 28), who are well-placed and have high disposable income, place value on owning experiences, rather than owning things. Another segment is the ‘just-to-be-married’ (aged between 27 and 35), who are embarking on a new journey together and want to have a beautiful home, but do not have the means to spend a large sum on buying all of it (at the quality they expect) at one shot. So, renting furniture is a good option for such people and this trend is gaining popularity among those who are on the move. Our customers are not necessarily people who cannot afford to buy furniture. It is a choice they make for other reasons, the most prominent of which is the zero-commitment that it involves. As the average customer rents furniture for 18 to 20 months, it is possible for the customer to change/swap the models at least once. Queen-sized beds, single beds, living room furniture, children’s furniture, wardrobes, study tables and appliances are in demand.”
Advantages of renting furniture
Renting furniture makes it easy for one to pack up and move to a different house, city or country. Moreover, one can add variety to the home décor, by changing the furniture whenever one needs to. “The whole rigmarole of finding new furniture and appliance shops, bargaining for prices, handling logistics, delivery, labour, installation and then, selling these products when it is time to move, was hitherto the biggest inconvenience for millennials, keeping them from enjoying a good lifestyle,” says Vineet Chawla, founder and director of Rentickle, an online furniture and home appliances rental start-up, which offers products at just 2-3 per cent of the cost of buying these products, along with benefits like free home delivery and maintenance.
The market for rental furniture in India
The market for rental furniture has huge growth potential in India. Till recently, this market was dominated by unorganised and local players, who offered little variety and not much in terms of value for money.
“Organised furniture rental services, was a huge unfulfilled market. With professionally managed companies, the consumer now has choice, vis-à-vis designs, variety, category, convenience and rental price. Trendy lifestyle products can be availed of, starting as low as Rs 99 per month. While refrigerators, washing machines and 32-inch LED TVs are popular products in the appliances category, beds and sofas are the top preferences of clients in the furniture category,” concludes Chawla.