The last decade has seen a dramatic shift in our attitudes towards personal property and what ownership means and it begs the question, what will we own in the future? For many of us, the subscription or renting culture is well and truly here, we use services like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon which have quickly transformed the idea of owning movies, music and books. The trend has also extended well beyond digital content. Owning a car was previously considered a symbol of independence and status, however in today’s cities it’s widely seen as an expensive inconvenience.
So how have the likes of these services changed our habits? Take Netflix for example, they took something which was a clunky experience, having to go to Blockbuster and physically pick up a DVD and then return it after 3 days, and given people access 24/7 to an on-demand selection of films through a seamless online experience where you don’t have to leave your couch. The experience is simpler because everything is done online at the click of a button, smarter because it’s cheaper and more sustainable because there are no DVDs.
If we look at more high value items like cars, we see fewer and fewer people buying cars, choosing instead to lease them or subscribe to new services like Drover, a new form of car subscription where users pay a recurring fee for the right to use a car with insurance, maintenance, tax, MOT and breakdown cover, and can swap vehicles during the subscription. Some consumers on the other hand have shifted to a complete reliance on Uber and public transport. Elsewhere in the property world, we know that the modern generation is less likely to want to buy property, and they embrace the concept of renting out spare rooms whilst holidaying abroad in someone else's home.
These fundamental shifts are undermining an idea that has been long established in our collective minds since the foundation of capitalism: that you have to own something to get the best out of it. So what has changed? An injection of great technology and a focus on customer experience has elevated the subscription model to a cheaper and more convenient route. Ownership in today’s world is now really about uninterrupted access to a good or service when you want or need it. This has all the benefits of ownership, without the drawbacks.
So how does all this play out in mobile?
Traditionally consumers have owned mobile devices through a bundled contract with a network. Prices for smartphones have risen substantially over the last few years, and the piles of old phones sitting in drawers or landfill continues to grow (an estimated 125 million and counting). In reality, this can be done in a much better way that would help the customer’s pocket… and be better for the planet. Just like the other products and markets mentioned earlier, you don’t need to own the hardware to have a great experience. The important part is having access to it… in this case access to the best smartphone technology. The only part that you need to own is your data and iCloud account.
Raylo’s subscription gives you access to the latest iPhones for a lower monthly price. The whole signup process is done online and takes 5 minutes. Because we own the phone, it means we can offer you a lower price per month. Every 24 months we’ll send you the latest iPhone and we’ve kept the experience super simple by giving you 14 days to transfer all your data safely across and then you simply return the old one in a box provided to you. Returning your phone to us means we can find it a new home or recycle it, meaning there’s no wastage, this is also what allows us to keep your monthly payments low. Raylo has been designed so our customers are always on the latest tech with a fresh, reliable battery.
History has taught us that people have always been averse to change, especially when technology is the reason. But shifting away from ownership has brought us affordable access to a number of products and services that have enhanced our lives for the better.
And to “borrow” a quote from Fight Club, the movie, “The things you own end up owning you.” Maybe it’s time for us all to rethink the value of ownership.
Recent regulation from Ofcom means that customers can now switch mobile providers by simply sending one free text message. At Raylo, we believe this move is only the start of a major shift in the industry.
As it stands the mobile space is not known for being the most sustainable of industries and there is much still to be done to move it away from that but we want to start in the right way, by making a responsible choice with our case. The numbers say it all, more than 400 million pounds of plastic are used to manufacture approximately one billion plastic phone cases every year. Hopefully our choice will inspire others to follow the same path.