South Korea’s home appliance rental market is expanding as younger generations, who prioritize experience over ownership, prefer to rent instead of buying.
Renting large appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioner and washing machines, which cost a lot to purchase, has become an affordable alternative for people who move frequently or cannot afford the upfront costs.
According to data from the country’s top three electronics rental businesses ? Coway Co., LG Electronics Inc. and SK Magic Co. – their cumulative number of rental accounts is estimated at around 11.81 million at the end of last year. The local rental market has been steadily growing each year, with 11.04 million accounts in 2020 and 11.46 million in 2021.
As the market grows, the range of appliances available for rent is also diversifying. Large home appliances, also known as white goods, are becoming more popular, with LG Electronics starting to offer rental services for air conditioners and washing machines last year in addition to refrigerators in 2020.
LG Electronics reported that its rental business revenue in the third quarter of last year reached 551.9 billion won, a 20 percent increase from 459.7 billion won during the same period in the previous year. Samsung Electronics Co. is also offering rental services for its washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners in collaboration with SK Magic. The total number of products rented by these companies reached 23,000 units last year.
The main driving force behind the expansion of the home appliance rental market is millennials and young working professionals who are familiar with the sharing culture. Among the new LG Electronics rental subscribers last year, the proportion of those in their 20s and 30s was as high as 30 percent. Including those in their 40s, customers aged 20 to 40 account for 65 percent of the total.