Swedish furniture and homewares retailer Ikea plans to launch furniture rental services in all of its main markets.
The Ikea leasing strategy is twofold: firstly it addresses the budgetary constraints of customers who move frequently and cannot afford to replace furniture to suit their new space, and secondly to deliver on its sustainability promise by reducing waste and expanding the lifespan of furniture products.
“You should be able to have a lovely home, and a good conscience, and you should be able to afford it,” said Ingka Group CEO Jesper Brodin in an interview with Reuters.
Details of the plan, framed as a subscription-based leasing offer, were revealed during the launch of the company’s first ‘sustainable’ store in Kaarst, Germany, this week. Students in the Netherlands can already use the program, paying €30 a month to lease a table, chairs, a bed and a desk. In Switzerland and Sweden, Ikea is developing a similar plan for office furniture.
Brodin said many Ikea customers are moving home more often than in the past and buying new furniture to fit new spaces can be a financial burden. Using the new Ikea leasing service, they can simply swap out furniture each time the move without having to worry about how they sell or dispose of their existing items.
The Ikea leasing concept also taps into the pervasive sharing culture in which younger generation consumers embrace renting items rather than owning – including music, fashion and motor vehicles.
The program is also in line with Ikea’s mission to be affordable, convenient and look after the planet.
Ikea says it will test the rental concept in all 30 of its markets by 2020. Furniture items will be repaired or refurbished between leases and when too old to be leased out, recycled.
Pia Heidenmark, Ikea’s head of sustainability, added another advantage of the program: by taking furniture back, the company will be able to assess the durability of its products and feed that information back to its design team.