Rental market shift fits millennial trends

Todays’ news the long-time photo-scanner marketer, E-Z Photo Scan, will pivot to a rental-only business model may surprise some – and certainly raises some questions about the future availability of Kodak Picture Saver Scanners – but it follows a growing trend among Millennials. This growing cohort is becoming more comfortable with renting – rather than owning – everything from cars, to homes, to clothes and so on. Uber is more of an “automotive” brand name to Millennials than Ford or GM.

“The way Generation X and Millennials are rapidly changing how they think about digitizing the printed photo collections they are inheriting from their Baby Boomer parents,” says Rick Lippert, president of i/o Trak, the parent company of E-Z Photo Scan. “The idea of taking on the scanning challenge as a DIY project and simply renting a photo scanner is appealing to this Uber-mindset group.”

According to this recent LA Times article, Millennials are embracing renting everything, including clothes. Popular fashion destination “Rent the Runway” launched the concept of wardrobe rental in 2009, and is now being copied by traditional fashionwear retailers like Ann Taylor and DSW.

The UPS’ 2016 “Pulse of the Online Shopper” report, 14% of Millennials rented – rather than purchased – a product online. That’s triple the rate of non-Millennials.

Camera stores, especially those in urban areas, have offered for a long time offered gear rental to pros needing specialized lenses and equipment to amateurs wanting to “try-before-they-buy.” In recent news, Lensrentals merged with LensProToGo and Shutterfly chose to retain its BorrowLenses subsidiary business after a review; TinyPrints and MyPublisher didn’t fare as well.

Full disclosure: E-Z Photo Scan is an occasional client of InfoCircle LLC, publisher of The Dead Pixels Society.