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Consumer electronics: Is renting the new buying?

Recent reports reveal that the global smartphone market has hit a decade low this year, as economic uncertainty has made consumers increasingly cautious about how they’re spending their money. And it’s not just smartphones, according to a study by Forbes sales for electronics and appliances were down 7.2% year-over-year between 2022-23.

With consumers lacking the disposable income to be continuously purchasing new gadgets, intent linked to ‘renting electronics’ is up 75% year-on-year. This way consumers can stay up to date with the latest devices for a fraction of the cost.

Not only is renting technology cost-effective, but it also has a positive impact on the environment. More than 50 million metric tons of e-waste is generated globally every year, with the UK expected to become the world’s biggest e-waste producer by 2024. However, GWI data shows that only a quarter of Brits know where to recycle old electronics providing an opportunity for brands in this space to educate consumers on their solution.

As demand in the sector continues to grow with rental brands including Raylo, Grover, Plenti all picking up investment in the past year, we look at the different tactics brands should consider to help them stand out from their competitors:

Educate without being dull

Renting instead of buying something isn’t a new concept, it’s something consumers are super familiar with in other sectors such as fashion. However, many consumers may be unaware that this is on offer within the tech space, and so informative content that raises awareness whilst showcasing the value of this new-ish proposition will be key.

However, the risk with this route is that in an effort to educate their target consumers, many brands will turn to uninspiring cookie-cutter strategies. Whilst this isn’t necessarily wholly bad, it also won’t help brands to stand out from their competitors or to win the loyalty of consumers in the long run. This is especially true in the tech sector, where there is a bigger expectation from consumers for brands to be forward-thinking and innovative in their approach as well as their product offering.

The key is to be bolder and not fall into the trap of only relying on basic, ‘here’s what we do and how it works’ messaging.

Understand the competitive landscape

Many startups fall into the trap of only comparing what they do to the traditional brands/services in their sector, for example, comparing ‘tech for rent’ to buying new. In this instance, whilst it is of course important to focus on how your service can offer something new to consumers who have always previously bought new, it is also incredibly important to consider the broader landscape too.

What makes your brand different to other ‘tech for rent’ companies, what do you offer that they don’t and how have you improved on their customer experience? Because, unfortunately, you may have been one of the first, but new competitors will pop-up all the time, and the consumer is fickle, so if you don’t establish why they should engage with you clearly and concisely, they could easily pass you by.

Make it multi-channel

There can be a temptation for brands to try one channel at a time. However, this is never going to support long-term growth, and in order to truly be competitive and reach out to consumer audiences brands need to adopt a layered approach to comms.

Once you have punchy messaging in place that elevates the brand above competitors, invest in sharing this content via a diverse channel mix that will ensure your consumer has multiple opportunities to engage with it.

Utilise a paid search strategy

Another channel that brands should be prioritising is paid search ads or ‘PPC’ which can boost your chances of attracting customers online. With consumer intent linked to renting electronics at an all-time high, utilising PPC will enable brands to appear for target keywords at the top of search engines quickly. This provides an opportunity to capture that high-intent search traffic and ultimately help drive sales.

Get in touch with our team of experts today to discuss how we could help your tech-for-rent business.

Get in touch with the team