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A New Experience Economy

13th June 2019

Written by Tara Lookabaugh, Director of Enterprise Innovation for GSVlabs.

While it’s hard to predict the future, we can understand the trends and opportunities impacting it. To that end, we focus our research on the megatrends that are most influential to the direction of new technology and its proliferation in the market.

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We've often talked about "the Experience Economy", the new reality that digital consumers will happily pay a premium for a product that offers a superior quality experience. We've seen this play out in Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, a grocery store that built a business on charging "whole wallet" prices for grocery staples, Enjoy's Lyft-meets-Apple Genius Bar success and unparalleled NPS (Net Promoter Score), and the recent IPOs of Lyft and Uber, who together have completely reinvented the urban transportation experience.

Now, we see users that are not only craving quality and convenience as key components of a good consumer experience, but a third element as well: minimalism. It's long been stated that the Millennial generation struggles with commitment and is less likely than their parents' generation to settle down and buy a house. But what does this lack of commitment mean for other kinds of ownership: buying a car, a wardrobe, furniture? 

Some big name brands are betting on Millennial 'commitment issues'. From hammers to kitchen tables, it seems like everything in the home can now be offered via a subscription leasing service or the sharing economy. Earlier this year, Ikea announced plans to launch furniture rentals. Just last month, Urban Outfitters (OU, Inc.) announced that they would be offering a subscription clothing rental service.  Even Home Depot recently announced plans to double down on tool rentals. 

Given the Millennial desire to own less and less, we expect to see more big brands adopting the trend. Time will tell, but we'll keep you posted. To stay on top of these trends and the startups driving them, check out our startup scouting services!

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