A host of new fractional ownership and rental models are launching in all corners of the luxury industry. The word ‘renting’ does not necessarily conjure up images of extreme luxury. Indeed, the word ‘rent’ itself generally refers to a system whereby consumersexperience something they can’t necessarily afford to buy. Whether it is a home or a car, or more recently, a private jet or a piece of fine jewelry.
The logic of such systems has not been lost on the affluent, or at the very least, those marketing to the affluent. With the understanding that many wealthy people have become wealthy (and remain wealthy) because of their ability to manage money in smarter-than-average ways, a host of rental and fractional ownership models are making all kinds of luxury more economical.
From a value standpoint, the idea of partially owning or renting a yacht or a jet makes an infinite amount of sense. Aside from the oft-gargantuan cost of out rightly purchasing the hardware, significant monthly amounts must be sustained to keep said yacht or jet serviceable, regardless of whether or not it is being used.
Where the value is perhaps less perceivable is in the market for luxury goods. These seasonal products don’t always have a long lifespan, and those that do – namely serious timepieces or fine jewellery – tend to be products consumers like to own, if not collect.
The former chief marketing officer of NetJets has launched an annual membership program that provides access to a curated selection of luxury watches. “Members have each watch for two months at a time, long enough to really enjoy it, but not too long for the excitement to wane. They can opt to receive three or six different watches per year – from several different price categories.”
The company is hiring out timepieces from IWC, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin, even the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Membership fees range from $249 to $1,599 a month depending on the retail prices of watches borrowed and the frequency with which members swap timepieces.
Credits can then be applied in some cases.
As more aspirational consumers are looking for access when it comes to luxury, for the ultra-rich and their global lifestyles, convenience has become a strong currency in its own right.
The business offers its members exclusive access to a curated selection of vintage, contemporary, and bespoke high jewellery from established houses and private collections.
Realistically, we are seeing the fractional ownership model work across all kinds of luxury industries, appealing to a wide range of consumers and wealth segments.
Global interest in luxury has never been so strong, and consumers have never felt so entitled to luxury. And with the advent of new programs and ownership models, this trend only looks set to strengthen. It will just be interesting to see what actually constitutes ‘luxury’ in the near future, when the market has thoroughly opened itself to all.