More than half (52%) of the 2,000-plus Americans surveyed have rented, leased or borrowed items including cars, bikes, clothing, vacation homes, tools or home appliances in the last year, rather than buying them. A resounding 83% said that they would rent, lease or borrow these items if they could do so easily. The leading reasons given for this growing “disownership” were saving money and cutting down on storage and/or maintenance.
The survey also found that the 24% of Americans 55 years of age or older were more likely to rent, lease or borrow traditionally owned items today than they were five years ago. More than half of those aged 45-54 have done so in the last two years. Of respondents in the Midwest, 46% plan to “disown” items in the next two years. In the South, that number jumps to 50%.
We're big fans of the sharing economy, so it is nice to see this trend moving out of the coastal cities and taking hold in the Midwest and South, as well.
However, Adam Werbach wonders about the framing: "I do have to question the choice of words -- "to disown" connotes casting out a family member."
He raises a good point. For these ideas of rethinking consumerism and ownership, it is important that the idea of living with less is seen as being less, but better, not a painful sacrifice.
See an infographic related to the research below: