Enough with the Clothing Rental Subscriptions Already!

CBS News

Per the RetailDive article “Nearly 40% of subscribers ultimately cancel services“, nearly 40% of subscribers of any service type​ cancel, and more than a third cancel in less than three months. So why have we seen an influx of retailers launching rental subscription services within the past three years?

In 2014-2015 one of the first successful online rental retailers to hit the scene was Rent the Runway, which provided consumers to rent designer dresses that they might not generally be able to purchase. As Rent the Runway saw the growth, popularity and demand for such needs, other retailers slowly began to follow suit. From designer handbags to plus size apparel, the rental market proved to be a prospering outlet for struggling retailers.

By the time 2016 rolled around more and more retailers took to the apparel rental model, but with one caveat…monthly subscription service signup. From Ann Taylor’s Infinite Style monthly commitment to Express’s Style Trial monthly subscription offering, consumers are now able to try and buy clothing, but only with the additional monthly subscription fee.

So have many of the traditional online retailers seen a profit from their subscription rental services? Probably not….but that hasn’t seem to stop more fashion apparel brands from jumping on the rental subscription service bandwagon. And the rental subscription trend has continues to grow as Urban Outfitters and Ralph Lauren recently launched their own apparel rental subscription service.

But the question remains…how successful and profitable are these monthly rental subscription services? However if the data holds true, nearly half of monthly subscribers, if not more, cancel within the first few months of the service.