According to a new survey, Gen Z consumers are interested in adopting garment rental services to prevent overconsumption, with the perceived effectiveness of making a difference the main attraction for the demographic.
In a study on apparel rental, researchers from Washington State University (WSU) surveyed 362 individuals born between 1997 and 2002 from throughout the United States and discovered that respondents still want to be trendy but don't need to own a product.
Apparel rental, also known as collaborative apparel consumption, increases the life of clothes by preventing consumers from discarding them after a few uses.
Ting Chi, the paper's corresponding author and chair of WSU's Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles, said that the notion is gaining in popularity, especially among Gen Z customers. They are very interested in sustainable consumerism and are willing to make adjustments to help the world. They're more concerned with usage. If a product is worn by several individuals, its lifespan is extended. It also lowers waste while still providing diversity to consumers.
Several characteristics were discovered in the study, which was published in the journal ‘Sustainability,' that made garment rental acceptable among Gen Z people.
Chi explained that the perceived efficacy of making a difference is the most significant factor. Consumers are more inclined to accept a change if they believe their efforts will have an influence. They'd acquire newer items more frequently than if they owned something. They were more inclined to use rental services because they wanted to buy more new clothes. That's why we started by talking to Gen Z. They are more adaptable to change, and doing so to benefit the environment makes it much more appealing.
Another aspect was that the emphasis was on consumption rather than ownership. Renting clothing is not a new concept; individuals have been renting formal attire for decades, but moving into more everyday circumstances is a significant shift for consumers.
In 2018, which is the most up-to-date statistics available, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, customers in the United States sent over 17 million tonnes of textiles to landfills 2018. This is up from about 13 million tonnes in 2009 and 9.4 million tonnes in 2000.
Chi and his coauthors intend to expand their research by polling different generations to evaluate their interest in renting clothing.
In recent months, a number of garment stores and brands have introduced apparel rental and rental subscription services. LK Bennett has launched an unlimited subscription garment rental service, especially for women, allowing UK customers to rent some of the brand’s most popular pieces from its ready-to-wear collections.
Ralph Lauren launched its first subscription garment rental program earlier this year, allowing the American fashion house to capitalize on the rising interest in the sharing economy.
However, according to recent research, buying new garments is a more sustainable alternative than renting and dry cleaning old ones.
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