Are you a transumer?

Do you see yourself in Gucci ads? Maybe identify with the person carrying a Prada purse?

Turns out, you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for an item to use it for self-expression—you can rent it instead.

“Consumers use brands to create and maintain aspects of their self-concept and can incorporate brands into that concept, a phenomenon known as self-brand connections,” said Alexandra Aguirre Rodriguez, a member of the Marketing Department in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU), whose research centers on consumer motivation, including self-concept motives.

A relatively new trend may be changing the way consumers form self-brand connections, and with it the ways companies promote their products: transumerism.

Short-term consumption could affect long-proven advertising approaches.

Alexandra Aguirre Rodriguez
Alexandra Aguirre Rodriguez

“Transumerism is a phenomenon in which the consumption stage of the consumer behavior process is temporary or short-lived,” Rodriguez said. “This type of transient behavior focuses on maximizing the number of experiences consumers are able to have with brands without the hassle of actual ownership.”

How this transient involvement with an item will affect advertising campaigns is yet to be seen.

“Associating their brands with certain images and personalities is a major aspect of a company’s brand-building strategy,” said Rodriguez, who plans to research transumerism in more depth. “Research has not addressed whether self-brand connection is strengthened by ownership, or if longing for the product without buying it or using the product temporarily without owning it results in weaker self-brand connections.”

Rodriguez was recently tapped by an AP reporter to reflect on transumerism. The article and its companion video were picked up by news outlets from New Jersey to Washington State, and from the Cayman Islands to China, including  Forbes and

Media Coverage

  • Forbes: Meet the ‘transumer’: less treasure, more pleasure | PDF
  • Why buy? ‘Transumers’ try to rent everything. From bike sharing to Vera Wang outfits more looking for temporary deals. | PDF
  • MSN Money: Meet the ‘transumer’: less treasure, more pleasure. | PDF
  • Yahoo Finance: Meet the ‘transumer’: less treasure, more pleasure. | PDF
  • Boston Globe: Consumers find fulfillment in renting. Eco-friendly and cheaper, trend gains converts. | PDF
  • Rented possessions finding favor. ‘Transumers’ value pleasure over treasure. | PDF

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