Renting Is the New Buying. Are You Ready to Adapt?

Would you pay to stay in a stranger’s house? Or take a ride from some average Joe using his car as a taxi for some extra cash?

Two activities that used to be called flat-out crazy, of course, are now popular brands–and successful businesses: Airbnb and Uber. How quickly things do change. The so-called Sharing Economy has grown considerably and goes far beyond those early startup pioneers.

Today, more than half of all Americans are willing to rent out their belongings and 44 percent would lease goods or services from other consumers, according to a recent Nielsen study. Nielsen surveyed 30,000 people in 60 countries.

And that’s exactly why you should be paying attention, because this trend opens up opportunities for all kinds of businesses. Those products sitting in storage? Why not turn them into inventory you rent? It solves a problem for you and it taps into a huge market–Nielsen estimates that the consumer rental market is worth approximately $26 billion.

Big businesses are already adapting to the trend. Home Depot, for example, now rents products in about half of its stores, the report said.

So what, exactly, do Americans want to lease for a fee? Some of the most popular goods include power tools, bikes, cars, and electronic devices. But don’t forget services as well: consumers are increasingly willing to share and pay for the expertise of strangers.

The key to succeeding in the share economy, however, is getting people to trust you. And that’s a lesson any business could use.

“While the ability to build trust between strangers in the digital world is the foundation for share community success, it’s increasingly vital for every other business model too.” John Burbank, Nielsen’s president of Strategic Initiatives, said in the report.

What products or services can your business bring to the sharing economy?

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