The sharing economy has a long tradition and has long been the norm in some sectors, and it is becoming increasingly popular not only for businesspeople, but also for private individuals.

The rental model is particularly suitable for products that are used only rarely or even only once. Strong growth can therefore be seen, for example, in all things related to celebrations, such as company anniversaries, private weddings or other events. The temporary borrowing of clothing is relatively new. This gives those participating in the consumer society new opportunities for consumption. Companies are gaining flexibility and becoming increasingly flexible and independent of ownership of a product.

Entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly pragmatic and are weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of renting and buying quite matter-of-factly. One important influence here is that ownership of a product is losing its power as a status symbol for many. A new generation of entrepreneurs wants to be flexible and is increasingly drawing satisfaction from its work–life balance.

Renting will offer another significant advantage in the future beyond this: providers offer a larger selection of different devices for rental, ordering many of these items individually just in time at the request of their customers, in order, firstly, to keep their storage requirements as low as possible, and, secondly, to offer faster, larger or more compact items.

In addition, renting helps save valuable time compared to buying. This is because when something is rented from a professional provider, they will ship a functioning product in very good condition at the desired time. The time and costs for installation, maintenance or repairs are eliminated for the company.

Why is renting better for the environment compared to buying?

Research funded by the Ministry of Research shows that the life cycle assessment of the sharing economy is already significantly better compared to traditional consumption. The economy of sharing therefore helps take the strain off the environment. This effect is mainly due to the fact that we buy less to meet our consumption needs. As a result, fewer things will be produced in the future and resources will be spared.

The major negative impact on the environment occurs before an item is even used. This allows us to formulate a simple rule: the more a product is used during its life cycle, the more sustainable it is. Why is that? Because, as a result, the footprint created by manufacturing a product is simply distributed over a much larger number of uses. Furthermore, the product must be disposed of at the end of its life cycle. This ecological damage is also spread among the units of use.

Particularly sought-after online platforms for the sharing economy will encompass: car sharing, tablets, smartphones, e-mobility, TV sets, furniture, kitchens, books, apartments, festive clothing, garden appliances and tools, toys, the passing on of textiles ...

Those interested must be able to rent products easily. More and more websites and apps are becoming the simplest form of organising things here. People meet via applications or platforms and organise exchanges or rentals. There are new jobs in the IT industry, and new challenges in terms of reusable and environmentally friendly packaging material. Consumption is becoming more flexible and often cheaper through rentals. Short-term rental periods help to meet needs in an uncomplicated and cost-efficient way.