Whilst new products are always welcome in Japan, sometimes you just want to try a new product out for the day rather than buying it for good. The solution is found in the recent mini-boom of rental goods. From the rental of charter planes, premium sports cars to brand handbags, accessories and of course the ultimate in convenience, renting a brand new set of golf clubs and having them sent directly to and from the course.
Two sites have proven popular with women for the renting of brand bags and accessories. One is called ORB where you can rent from a 1 week or a 1 month period. The other is called Cariru (which in Japanese means borrow or rent, although in romaji script you probably would have a K not a C to be accurate. The C no doubt makes the service brand look a little more stylish than a hard looking K).
If you think bags are boring then it might be worth checking out the prices. The bags are premium products with some of the Hermes bags costing more than $10,000. The rental on these is close to $500 per week or $1,600 per month. Each of the services is boasting around 200 items in their stock.
If cars are your thing then the BMW M3 coupe or the new LEXUS IS-F or even a high-end NISSAN GT-R can be arranged at the price of about $400 per day. Top end cars such as Ferraris and Bentleys can be rented in exclusive clubs for higher prices, but this middle market of renting prestige but still affordable $400 per day rates is a new burgeoning market. Demand appears to be strong.
Cars cant compete with personal jets though and although most personalities and company executives are normally happy flying commercial aircraft in Japan, services allowing the rental of charter jets are becoming more popular. One such service offers a 16 seater plane at $180 per hour with flights able to go to domestic locations or into China and Korea. I am guessing the fuel charge will be billed separately. Better bring the American Express card.
Household electronics are also becoming a popular rental item with Yamada Denki’s LABI store offering rental on televisions and DVD players to corporate users and are considering extending this to all customers in 2010. With the economy in a downturn this plan might just be brought forward. TSUTAYA, the popular video rental store is also getting into the act renting Japanese manga, comic books, and Karaoke boxes have started renting out their rooms for small company meetings.
And if all that sounds too much like work, how about renting a new set of the Nike Tiger Woods golf clubs. GOLF PARTNER has started a rental service where they will deliver the golf clubs directly to the course you are going to play at and then have them sent back to the store. With prices at around $50-$100 for the day what could be better.