Renting Industry Becomes More Popular

April 11, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. rent (v.) 
[rent] – to pay for the temporary use of a property
Example: The employee rented an expensive car for the special occasion.

2. prone (adj.) [prohn] – likely to become affected by something
Example: Many people are prone to colds during winter.

3. sanitize (v.) [san-i-tahyz] – to thoroughly clean something
Example: Food establishments must be sanitized every day.

4. consumption (n.) [kuhn-suhmp-shuhn] – the act of buying or using something
Example: Food consumption is higher in wealthy countries. 

5. stranger (n.) [streyn-jer] – any person whom one does not know
Example: Kids are often warned not to talk to strangers.

Read the text below.

These days, renting items is easier and more popular than ever thanks to smartphones and the Internet. As such, more companies in the US are finding business opportunities in the renting industry.

The renting trend began in the US with companies like Netflix, Zipcar, and Capital Bikeshare. Since then, other renting service companies have opened.

One new company that is achieving success is Tie Society. For $11 per month, members can choose and rent from 300 designer neckties normally sold in high-end department stores. In addition, members can return or re-order ties anytime.

Majority of Tie Society’s customers are young, professional men who have recently joined the workforce. Customers enjoy the service because they get to dress well and try on different styles without overspending.

Another company, Spark Box, allows consumers to rent a variety of children’s educational toys at $23 monthly. Parents say renting toys saves space, as the educational toys can be easily sent back after young children have learned them.

Because the toys are prone to collecting germs, the company also makes sure the toys are properly sanitized before a customer rents them.

Experts call the renting trend “collaborative consumption,” because items are shared by strangers. Although the renting industry is still young, experts believe it has already made a major change in the way American society thinks of ownership.

Investors also agree that this “sharing” economic and business model will keep growing as long as people enjoy sharing information through social media sites and the Internet.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         How is renting more convenient than buying certain products?
·         What other items do you wish could be rented in the future?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the disadvantages of the renting industry?
·         Do you agree that this industry will last? Why or why not?


April 11, 2012