Ownership becoming 'thing of the past' for millennials?

Publish Date: 
Oct 17, 2012
By Holly J. Wagner

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a sidebar to the article by Holly J. Wagner, "Peer to peer rentals: Creating future buyers, or competing with sales?" To read the main article, click HERE.

ONE THING EagleRider CEO Chris MacIntyre knows is the growing market for powersports rentals, driven in part by the down economy and partly by the rise of millennial consumers.

“This is why our business is growing. We’re over 20 percent growth in our tours,” MacIntyre said.  “On the rental side, last year we had 12 percent growth…. Ownership is becoming a thing of the past. The trend is different now.”

Often, renters own one type of vehicle and just want to try out others, said Fun2Rent CEO Shawn Gardner. “Many of our renters already own other equipment. They own an ATV and they want to rent a Jetski,” he said.

“They may want to rent a different bike every weekend,” said Ed MacFawn, CEO of BiT Powersports Software. “The millennials have a reputation of being less tied to the whole ownership issue. I would expect that to extend to bikes and transportation.”

Millennial preferences and the economy could give P2P rentals a boost. “The economy is the ideal economy for something like that to grow,” MacFawn said. “If you’ve got a bike or a personal watercraft, you are happy to get a little spending money. And if you don’t have the super high-paying, long-term commitment kind of a job, you are less interested in making a long-term commitment as an owner.”

Jessica Prokup, owner of Yellow Devil Gear Exchange, agreed that conditions may be right for peer-to-peer powersports rentals. “The current generation of 18-to 30-year olds are probably more accustomed to the idea of sharing property,” she said.  “Since so many of them are having trouble finding jobs, this could be a great thing. Youth today are just trying to figure out how to survive. The job market is so bad and the economy is so scary.”

Gardner is counting on the economy and Millennials as part of his pitch to build the list of available rentals, too. “As owners become more comfortable and more social about their rental equipment, soon their neighbors will find out about it,” he said. “And as our site gains more traction as well, it’s going to spread organically.”