IKEA Rolls Out Furniture Rental Pilot Program Aimed At Environmentally-Conscious Buyers

IKEA Rental Program
Customers walk by as they leave the IKEA store in Kaarst near Duesseldorf, Germany (Photo: Reuters)

In its bid to appeal to budget and environmentally conscious buyers, Swedish-based retail company IKEA has announced a new pilot program that will allow its customers to rent out its products. The new furniture rental program is part of the company's strategy to appeal to transient customers and those who are seeking for a sustainable way of living.

The world's largest ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances, and home accessories seller revealed that it had begun to experiment with leasing out its desks, beds, and other furniture in February. Thanks to good feedback from its test subjects, the company finally decided to roll out the program starting in Sweden and its neighboring European countries. The company officially launched the program at an event in one of its first "sustainable" stores in Kaarst, western Germany.

According to the company, the move was instigated by their realization that a lot of their customers were people that changed homes frequently. These customers apparently could not afford to buy new furniture every time they move to a new country or city.

Jesper Brodin, the chief executive of Ingka Group, the company that owns a majority of the IKEA stores worldwide, also mentioned that the move was also motivated by environmentalism. The executive explained that most IKEA customers are for environmental conservation, and renting out furniture is just more environmentally-friendly when compared to buying something and then throwing it away when it isn't useful anymore.

Through the program, companies and individuals will be able to rent out furniture and other items through a subscription-based system. This will apparently ensure that all of the company's products are reused as often as possible before they are sent off to be recycled. In the Netherlands, the company is already allowing students to rent out its beds, desk, chairs, and tables for a monthly fee of US$33. The company is also looking to provide companies with a similar program for its office furniture line.

The company hopes to offer the subscription-based leasing program to all of its 30 markets in the near future. Meanwhile, IKEA will be rolling out a test program, which it expects will be available worldwide by 2020.

Since Brodin took over as CEO of the company in 2017, IKEA's business model has drastically shifted to lowering its environmental footprint. The company has also shifted its strategy to adapt to the rise of online commerce. The recent move apparently fits perfectly with the company's three main objectives, namely becoming more affordable, more convenient, and be more eco-friendly.

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