Online clothing rental services is a provision of renting clothes for a definite period through online platforms, thereby connecting distributors and retailers and customers to the potential customers. Festive clothes (outfits) related to various events such as wedding, corporate parties, theme parties, films and photo shoots are witnessing increasing demand in the online clothing rental market. Online clothing rental portals offer a wide range of clothes which can be filtered by size, color, type of outfits, brands and prices. In addition to this, online rental service providers offer consultation services to customers though their contracted experts (designers, image consultants, and other fashion experts) via phone, or email in order to enhance customer experience.
The global online clothing rental market is in a state of transition. Emerging economies are witnessing rapid growth, while the developed economies are showing signs of value acceleration. The growth in the penetration of Internet subscribers and increasing adoption of smartphones across the emerging regions, in conjunction with improved payment gateways is driving the market of the global online clothing rental market in these regions. Additionally, players who started earlier are holding up well against the new smaller and local entrants in the market. This has led to intense competitions among local and global players, resulting in heavy discount coupons for consumers on their first order which is in turn is further driving the market. Significant private venture capitalist investments to the early start-ups in this business has led to increased expenditure on marketing and promotional activities with an aim of acquiring customers, which would facilitate customers’ loyalty and in turn customer retention.
Online clothing rental service providers such as Rent The Runway, Le Tote, Swapdom Inc. (U.S.), Dress& Go (Brazil), GlamCorner Pty Ltd (Australia), and Klozee and Secret Wardrobe (India) have attracted the significant investment from the venture capitals and private equity investors in the recent past.
The major target market for the online clothing rental industry are the budget-conscious fashion lovers (teenagers and adults). Additionally, individuals witnessing rapid physique change including pregnant women and kids are also primary targeted customer base for few of the players in this industry. Thus, online clothing rental service facilitates a cost effective option for consumers by renting the particular type of dress at a much lesser price than its original price for definite period.
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With demographic diversity, vast consumer base, and growing digitization, emerging economies are showing promising growth opportunities for e-commerce players. Amongst the various industry verticals that are pushing for the supreme position in the growing e-commerce segment, online clothing rental service market is expected to have emerge as one of the strongest potential market places for growth during the forecast period.
Currently, clothing industry has witnessed high demand for fashion apparels and with the introduction of multinational brands in the emerging nations and constant changing wearable patterns. Major factor driving the online clothing rental market is increasing consumers’ attraction for designer brands and willingness to pay rental cost for these designer wears (which is too less than the purchased cost). Additionally, easy access to clothes of consumers’ choice is further propelling the market growth. Women are always unsatisfied with their wardrobe and are habitual of purchasing new clothes on various occasions. Rental online clothing platforms provides an opportunity to consumers to rent their pre-owned apparels, thus acting as a consume-to-business and business-to-consumer platform. Leveraging these opportunity, various women fanatic of clothes have initiated renting their apparels which in turn is driving the growth for the pre-owned apparel rental market.
Furthermore, the online clothing rental service providers are finding diverse ways to engage with the customer by offering added services and marketing its product through social media platforms. For instance, Rent the Runway, a U.S. based online clothing rental platform, provides interactive features such as live chats with the contracted stylists and also ability to order a free back-up size. As per this feature, the company provides another size for the ordered dress along with the customer’s ordered size to help customer to get the perfect fit.
The online clothing rental market experiences certain challenges such as dealing with customers’ grievances on the issues related to improper size and default in products. Although, few online rental service providers offer feature of tailoring the dresses as per consumer’s choice, issues related improper size acts as one of the primary restraints for the growth of the market.
Online clothing rental market is mainly classified on the basis of types, by platform type and geography.
On the basis of type, online clothing rental market is segmented as men and women.
Men and women segments are further sub-segmented into western wear, ethnic wear and others (theme dresses, dresses for shoots and maternity dresses)
On the basis of business model, online clothing rental market is segmented as B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) platforms.
On the basis of geographies, online clothing rental market is segmented as below:
Asia Pacific Excluding Japan
Middle East & Africa
Presently, North America and Western Europe are one of the largest market in terms of demand for online clothing rental services. Advancement in the internet infrastructure, increasing smartphone penetration, advent of secure payment modes, and increasing awareness of this service in the emerging economies including China and India are expected to project Asia Pacific region to be the most lucrative market during the forecast period.
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Key Market Players
Leading players in the global clothing rental space include Rent the Runway, Elanic Services Private Limited.,, Poshmark, Secoo (Secoo Holding Limited), Share Wardrobe, (all in pre-owned premium women’s apparel brands) and Envoged (Armoire Lifestyle Pvt Ltd), Etashee, Stylish Play, Air wardrobes, Walkin Closet, , FlyRobe, Secret Wardrobe and Klozee (Humble Egg Technologies Pvt. Ltd.) (All in rent premium brands and designer wear)
In September 2015, Women fashion-centric online clothing rental platform Elanic Services Private Limited., has raised a seed round of funding from Singapore-based Japanese venture capital firm Rebright Partners, Tracxn Labs, and Angel investor Aneesh Reddy.
In August 2015, India-based startup, Klozee (Humble Egg Technologies Pvt. Ltd.) which enables customers to rent apparels has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding by TracxnLabs.
In June 2015, Le Tote, snapped up Series A funding round worth US$8.8 million led by Azure Capital Partners. Other major investors includes Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Simon Venture Group (which is associated with the shopping mall conglomerate Simon Property Group), AITV, Epic Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners and Funders Club.
In December 2014, Rent the Runway, a U.S. based cloth rental service, raised US$60 million in a series D round of new venture funding. Major investor being the Technology Crossover Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, and Advance Publications.
In June 2013, Rent The Runway, acquired Go Try It On, Inc., a startup that enables users to share their photos and have opinions on their looks.
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