Millennials Embrace Sharing Economy in All Walks of Life

  • By Yoon Hyung-jun

    March 27, 2021 08:12

    Millennials are becoming the prime consumer group in Korea, which is reflected in the growth of the sharing economy where consumers rent anything from household appliances to cars and furniture.

    This form of consumption sacrifices permanent ownership to flexibility and easy availability but can be a headache for producers.

    One 34-year-old office worker uses a service costing W750,000 a month that allows him to drive four different Hyundai sedans (US$1=W1,131). "I get to drive a different car every month," he said. "If I find one that I like, I can cancel the service and buy it."

    The cost of the service ranges between W590,000 and W990,000 a month, and of the 8,395 people who use it, 62 percent are millennials in their 20s and 30s.

    Open Gallery in Seoul rents out paintings, charging W100,000 a month to let customers borrow an artwork to display in their home for three months at a time. Ownership of artworks has long been considered a status symbol for the rich, but now it has become much more affordable. More than 70 percent of the gallery's clients are millennial women.

    Furniture maker Hanssem, too, plans to expand its lineup of rentable products from mattresses to beds, sofas and other high-end furniture.

    The market for rented golf equipment is also growing, and even Chanel handbags priced at millions of won can be hired for three to four days at a time at a cost of W100,000 since young women normally carry luxury handbags only on special occasions.

    A study suggests that the rental market for domestic household appliances is worth more than W10 trillion.

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