Kitchen subscription is following hot on the heels of device subscription. Hiring your everyday devices for a monthly fee from the carrier or an electronics reseller is fast becoming the natural choice. And now, flat-pack furniture and home-accessory megastore IKEA believes we could all soon be signing up for fitted kitchens and furniture. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Global giants like Apple, Uber, and Airbnb are reshaping their respective industries by introducing the concept of sharing and subscription, both for services and for physical assets. The same thing goes for branded clothes, fine wines, and artisan products.
From a financial perspective, there’s no real reason to treat a new kitchen as an investment. In our throw-away society, neither furniture nor fridges gain value with age. Trends in fashion and style change over time; new appliances and solutions get integrated into kitchens, which are ready for a refit in five years or so — chairs and sofas even sooner.
In reality, customers don’t upgrade their kitchens that often. After all, some years ago, that kitchen cost them a considerable sum of money; it still looks okay, and an upgrade can cause considerable disruption. IKEA says its new kitchen leasing service is set to solve this problem, and a similar service should soon be available for related furniture and equipment.
What IKEA is doing to help us cook and sleep, Apple is also doing for communication (usually bundled with the carrier’s service), to cover a wider spectrum of needs, and UBER or car leasing is doing to help us fulfill our logistics needs.