We're Renting Way More Than Just Housing

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For the under-40 set, permanence can seem hard to come by. Homeownership is way down in our generation, while pretty much everywhere you go, the rent is way too high. Yet somehow, an array of options has sprung up for us to test-drive not just housing, but pretty much anything we could want.

That's what market research company Lab42 has found, and the magazine AdWeek has summed up these trends (behind a paywall, but reproduced at Visual Capitalist). In fact, nearly half of millennials and Gen Z'ers have rented furniture, almost 4 in 10 have rented gaming systems, and around one-third have rented everything from clothing to jewelry to home appliances. We're not even doing so for the convenience factor; top responses in AdWeek's survey were mostly about testing things out before committing, although expense and time crunches were close on its heels.

There are other reasons to get invested in renting and subscription services, though: sustainability. It's not just cost-efficient to split your rent with a roommate; we're eager for environmentally friendly packaging and processes in almost every facet of our day-to-day lives. Even though IKEA is one of the most sustainable furniture vendors out there (no, really, the hype is real), even the Swedish flat-pack titan is looking into reusable furniture for its customers.

Of course, this model won't work for everything, and a lot of it depends on things like geography and demographics. But if we're willing to disrupt ownership in more and more creative ways, the future could look a lot different than what we expect.