Two-thirds of millennials want to rent products

Retailers could soon be impacted by the increased attitude by younger shoppers to rent products and services, rather than buying. A new report from Hammerson and Verdict has stated 64% of millennials would consider using the sharing economy to rent products in the future, compared to 30% of over 35-year-olds.

Millennials – those aged 18-34, who make up 23% of the UK population – are a changing socio-economic group, who see the prospect of home ownership moving out of their reach. The new research suggested less than half of people born in 1990 will be homeowners by the age of 40. While 54% do not think they will ever be able to afford a property without financial aid from family.

According to the report, this housing crisis is changing millennial customers' attitudes to the ownership of products, with 53% of them having used a sharing economy business – like Uber or Airbnb – in the last year, compared to only 16% of over 35s.

Over half of millennials surveyed citing affordability and convenience as a reason to use the sharing economy model.

But this trend is moving away from services to renting products, with 36% of millennials wishing to rent products they do not need to own, compared to 18% of over 35s.

Products cited by millennials included DIY equipment (20%), clothing (19%) and sports gear (21%), while only 10% would consider sharing jewellery. Additionally, furniture retailers could soon be impacted, as 27% of these consumers do not own a large piece of furniture and do not think they would be able to afford one in the next five-ten years.

"Through this research, we’ve clearly identified how shopping habits have been shaped by the wider socio-economic environment. Attitudes towards home-ownership and the simultaneous emergence of the sharing economy will clearly have an impact on purchasing decisions for future generations," said David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson. "Likewise, the rapid adoption of technology, both in terms of how millennials shop and socialise, will continue to influence spending patterns."

He added: "In an increasingly competitive market, shopping destinations that offer the best retail, dining and leisure experiences will continue to outperform. And those retailers that are quick to adopt these platforms and technologies, and demonstrate flexibility in their approach, are likely to prove successful in attracting the next generation of consumers.”