The UK offers a potential market for clothes rental worth £923m and there is space for growth in the number of retailers offering this service, according to shopping centre developer Westfield.
More than 25% of Londoners would like to rent clothes, creating an untapped market of £390m in the capital, Westfield found in its How We Shop Now report.
Almost 30% of respondents in London said they would spend £200 or more a month to rent clothes. The appetite is higher among millennials, with 50% of 25 to 34-year-olds prepared to spend £200 or more in this way.
More than 20% of Londoners said they would rent exercise clothing, handbags and shoes on a regular basis too.
Myf Ryan, Westfield’s chief marketing officer for the UK and Europe, said this opportunity ties into the growth of the sharing economy led by firms such as Uber and Airbnb.
“Although current rental retailers are predominately online we predict this trend will go offline. People still do most of their shopping in physical stores and we know that over 75% of shoppers in the UK still want to touch, feel and try out products in a physical store environment,” she said. “Track forward and imagine where this movement might take physical retailing, not just within fashion, but across a wide range of retail areas.”
Ryan believes major retailers could have “hire or buy” areas in stores in future.
“This report is further evidence that how we shop in the UK is fundamentally changing,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium. “Retailers are adapting their businesses and enhancing the experience in store to meet continuously evolving consumer demands.”