Out of the ten million tons of furniture that is thrown away in the EU every year, 80-90% is burned or put on landfills. A new study examines the role of marketing in preventing this.

The need to extend the lifetime of home furnishings and reduce the number of new products put on the market is huge. Renting home furnishings is one way of doing so. However, in order for rental companies to expand their businesses, they need to get better at reaching out to customers.

Low acceptance
In their new study, Heather Schoonover, Oksana Mont and Mikael Klintman at Lund University ask questions about what role sustainability can play in this marketing.

The problem is that the acceptance of rental models is low among consumers. Therefore, the article argues that companies need to improve their communication with customers and make sure that their rental services are promoted in a way that appeals to them. They need to understand why consumers are motivated to rent rather than buy their home interior, so that they can match their marketing accordingly.

Sustainability benefits are rarely used in marketing
Nevertheless, the home furnishings rental sector is growing. Research shows that among other things, it attracts consumers for economic reasons, because of the ability to keep their interior up to date, and thanks to the convenience and freedom of not owning their furniture. The results of the article also show that these advantages often are highlighted by companies.

However, the sustainability benefits are rarely emphasized, even though research previously has suggested doing just that. This raises questions about what role sustainability actually should play in the communication between businesses and consumers.

Isabel Nilsson Alarcon

Read the whole article in Cleaner and Responsible Consumption here.