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Rental Demand Down ...But Not Out: JB Hi-Fi

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 27/11/2012

AS JB HiFi pushes its RentSmart finance deals, SmartHouse caught up with Marketing Manager Scott Browning to talk rentals.

JB revamped its RentSmart rental options this week, advertising rentals for as little as $4.02 per week, offering everything from smartphones to PCs, tablets and software.

"We have tweaked the benefits buts it's still the same concept," says Browning.

JB started its rental 5-6 years ago as "the consensus was that we had to have rentals to be in the PC business."

"However, the rental market is not as big as it was 5-6 years ago as the price of electronics has fallen so much while credit limits have gone up," says Scott Browning JB HiFi Marketing Manager, who notes once upon a time most CE goods were acquired on hire purchase or rentals deals.

But renting is still popular among students, sole traders and SMBs who want off capital raising for PC equipment. And it is only suited to a certain type of customer as you're paying 20-30% over the price of the asset.

"People find it hard to justify paying the premium. But we offer it as there is still a particular market for rental finance... a lot of people shop around for it" as its high risk and there is no asset at the end.

All the main CE players including Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and Dick Smith (who also use RentSmart) offer similar financing deals.

Computers worth $1000 and over are the most popular items being rented. TVs and smartphones are not as popular unless there is a commercial reason to rent, says Browning. Most of the rental takes place over a 2-3 year term, as the shorter the rental period the higher the premium.

And if the renter upgrades, which RentSmart gives the option to do after 2 years, it offsets some of the premium paid.

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