A study by Washington State University has found that Gen Z are willing to use clothing rental services in order to reduce waste. The survey included 362 adults living in the US, who were born between 1997-2002. Respondents expressed potential interest in the growing rental trend.

selective focus photography of hanged clothes

“The idea is growing more popular, especially among Gen Z consumers,” said Ting Chi, in a comment on the university website. “They are interested in sustainable consumption, care about the environment, and will make positive changes to improve the world.”, adds Ting Chi.

The study examined 5 overlaying factors that could influence a shoppers decision to use rental services, including attitude, subject norms, perceived consumer effectiveness, past environmental behaviour and fashion leadership. This highlighted the importance to educate about sustainable benefits and peer perceptions of the service.

Those who considered themselves as ‘fashion leaders’ also noted the benefits of rental clothing. Fashion leaders wear a lot of clothes because they have short trends that make apparel seem disposable. According to the survey, people understood that renting allows them to access products sooner than others and without having to take responsibility for their own product.

group of people raising cardboard box with text near building

Chi explained: “They would get newer products more frequently than if they own an item. They were more inclined to rent clothing services because they wanted more clothes.”

Overall, the study showed a promising lean towards the more sustainable rental option, containing useful suggestions on how to reach the experimental and fast-paced Gen Z consumer. Gen Z could become a valuable player in the future rental industry if they are convinced.

“We’re wasting too many textiles,” added Chi. Chi said that Americans buy an average of 67 clothes items each year. But how many do they really need? “These items are inexpensive, but they can cause serious environmental damage. It is up to us to make an effort to protect the environment. One way to do this is to create a sharing economy.”