Toy rental market sluggish amid sizzling sharing economy

Updated 2017-05-03 17:00:26 Ecns.cn

(ECNS) -- While China's bike-sharing economy kicks into high gear and car rental is becoming popular in many big cities, the market for toy sharing and rental looks dreary.

Many toy rental shops in southwestern Chongqing said they only manage to make ends meet with few customers entering the shops each day.

"I started the business three years ago, and enlarged the area of the shop from 40 square meters to 400 (in order to provide more toys)," said Tan Maojie, a shop owner, but "business is not very good."

Tan's shop also provides online and delivery services, but that helps little. The price of some toys could be more than 1,000 yuan (5) each, Tan said, adding that a lower rental cost could not support the shop to update its stock of toys while old stock does not attract children.

Year-long membership of a toy rental shop may cost 500 yuan, not a cheap choice, said a mother surnamed Peng. Many families don't want to spend so much on toys, however, rich parents would rather buy brand new toys instead of renting one for their kids.

Parents also worried about the sanitary condition of rental toys. Even though toy rental shops claimed that all toys were disinfected, there is no test standards, some parents said.

Some toys could be destroyed by children, with the regulation of compensation set by the shops without details, further scaring away some parents.

Liao Chenglin, a professor with Chongqing University, suggested toy rental shops reduce toy types to control cost, focus on certain themes, and offer services in residential communities.

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