Why Rented Formal Wear is a Dying Industry

According to a new report from IBISWorld, rented formalwear is one of the key American industries in decline, threatened by lower cost imports and the retail sector.

Maybe you’re not surprised, considering how bad a rented suit can look (on such an important day!)

But I suspect that poor fit and quality is only a small factor in this industry’s decline.

“External competition” is the key factor. Men are purchasing their suits as they plan for a formal event.

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The IBIS World report says:

“Personal disposable income levels steadily increased over the last decade, even during the recession, which pulled consumers away from the rental sector and toward the retail sector.

To add fuel to the fire, low-priced suit and costume imports have grown, which has increased competition for rentals.

As a result, consumers are more inclined to pay a marginally higher price to own their formal wear rather than rent it for each occasion.”

You can buy a smashing but affordable tuxedo and 1) look excellent, 2) wear it again at the next formal event and 3) choose from a wider variety of styles, which (if you’re lucky) may even satisfy the matchy-matchy demands of bridezilla.

Perhaps another factor is at play here: formal events are on the decline here in America. More people are postponing marriage, and in the weddings we do attend – you might see the father of the bride in a Hawaiian shirt, not a tuxedo.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Lobo on Flickr