Before we get into the specifics of Rent the Runway, let’s understand competitor analysis. Competitor analysis is a strategic research method companies use to identify, evaluate, and understand their current and potential competitors within the market. It’s an essential business strategy component and instrumental in understanding the industry landscape.

The process usually involves the following steps:

  1. Identifying Key Competitors: The first step is to identify your competitors. These may be direct competitors (those who offer the same or similar products or services as you) or indirect competitors (those who provide different products or services but compete for the same consumer dollar).
  2. Analyzing Competitors’ Strategies and Objectives: Once competitors are identified, the next step is to understand their business strategies and objectives. This may involve analyzing their marketing materials, financial performance, customer reviews, or any public information available about the company.
  3. Assessing Competitors’ Strengths and Weaknesses: This step involves evaluating the identified competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Strengths include unique products or services, strong brand recognition, and superior customer service. Weaknesses include poor product quality, weak customer service, or high prices.
  4. Understanding Competitors’ Products/Services: Understanding what your competitors offer and how your products or services compare is essential. This could involve examining features, quality, pricing, customer service, and marketing strategies.
  5. Observing Competitors’ Reaction Patterns: Some companies react more aggressively than others when faced with competition. Understanding these patterns lets you predict how these companies might respond to your business strategies.
  6. Drawing Conclusions and Formulating Strategy: The final step is to take all the information gathered from the analysis, draw meaningful conclusions, and use those to formulate or adjust your business strategies.

The main goal of a competitor analysis is to understand the competitive landscape, spot opportunities, and threats, and position your company most advantageously. It helps to inform strategic decisions, from product development to marketing and sales efforts. 

Rent the Runway business overview.

Rent the Runway is an innovative fashion company that rents designer apparel and accessories. Founded in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, the company started as an online service where customers could rent high-end dresses and accessories for special occasions. Over the years, Rent the Runway has significantly expanded its offerings and business model to cater to a broader range of customer needs and preferences.

Key Products and Services: Rent the Runway offers several services that allow customers to access a wide variety of fashion items without the need to purchase them outright:

  • One-Time Rentals: Originally the core of Rent the Runway’s business, one-time rentals allow customers to rent individual items for special occasions like weddings, galas, or parties for a fraction of the retail price.
  • Subscription Services: Rent the Runway offers subscription plans for unlimited monthly rentals. Subscribers can choose a set number of items to keep at a time and swap them for new selections throughout the month. This service has become a significant part of their business, appealing to customers looking for everyday wear in addition to special event attire.
  • Membership Benefits: Subscribers gain access to a vast wardrobe of designer clothing, including dresses, outerwear, sportswear, and accessories, with the flexibility to refresh their choices regularly. This model encourages a more sustainable approach to fashion by reducing the need to purchase clothing that might only be worn a few times.

Market Position and Industry Impact: Rent the Runway has positioned itself as a leader in the “clothing as a service” sector, promoting sustainability in the fashion industry by extending the lifecycle of garments and reducing waste. The company has tapped into the growing consumer interest in sustainable and economically efficient fashion solutions, especially among millennials and Gen Z, keen on reducing their environmental impact.

Strategic Focus: Rent the Runway’s strategic focus includes:

  • Expanding its subscription base.
  • Enhancing customer experience through technology.
  • Increasing the efficiency of its operations.

Technology is crucial in managing inventory, customer interactions, and logistics. Additionally, Rent the Runway collaborates with designers and brands to ensure a wide selection of items and exclusives for its customers.

Challenges and Opportunities: Rent the Runway faces challenges such as logistical complexities, high operational costs, and the need to engage consumers in a competitive fashion market continuously. However, the shift towards more conscious consumerism presents significant opportunities for growth, particularly as more people look to reduce their fashion footprint without compromising on style and variety.

Overall, Rent the Runway continues to innovate in the fashion rental space, providing flexible and sustainable options that cater to a wide range of fashion needs and preferences while promoting a more sustainable approach to consumer fashion.

Rent the Runway’s luxury rental business strategy & model

Rent the Runway competitor analysis

Rent the Runway operates in the competitive space of fashion rental and subscription services, where it faces several competitors that offer similar or alternative approaches to accessing fashion without ownership. Now, let’s do a competitor analysis of Rent the Runway.

Le Tote

Le Tote competes with Rent the Runway by offering a subscription-based fashion rental service that focuses on providing everyday wear rather than just special occasion attire. Le Tote appeals to customers who are interested in regularly refreshing their everyday wardrobe without the commitment of purchasing new clothes. Here’s how Le Tote positions itself against Rent the Runway:

  1. Flexible Fashion Subscription: Le Tote allows customers to rent clothing and accessories with the option to keep and purchase items they love at a discounted price. This model particularly appeals to those who regularly integrate new and varied styles into their daily wardrobe.
  2. Personalized Selections: Subscribers fill out a detailed style profile, and Le Tote curates a personalized tote based on their preferences. This customized service helps ensure that the items sent match the customer’s style and fit preferences, which enhances user satisfaction and retention.
  3. Maternity Wear: Le Tote offers a unique niche service by including maternity wear in its subscriptions. This is a significant differentiator as it caters to pregnant women seeking flexible and affordable fashion options that accommodate their changing body sizes without requiring long-term investment in maternity clothes.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness: Le Tote is generally more affordable than Rent the Runway, particularly for customers interested in everyday fashion rather than designer labels. This pricing strategy makes it accessible to a broader audience who may find Rent the Runway’s designer focus and pricing beyond their budget for regular wear.
  5. Wear and Return Convenience: Subscribers can wear the clothes as often as they like during the rental period and then return them in a pre-paid tote bag, making the process convenient and straightforward. This ease of use is a strong selling point for busy customers who value simplicity.
  6. Purchase Option: Unlike Rent the Runway, which primarily focuses on rentals, Le Tote allows customers to purchase any item they like at a reduced price. This flexibility appeals to those who want to try clothing before committing to buy it, effectively using the service to test wear and fit before purchase.
  7. Customer Service and Experience: Le Tote strongly emphasizes customer service, ensuring users have a positive experience with each tote. This focus on customer satisfaction helps build loyalty and repeat business, which is crucial in the competitive subscription fashion market.

By focusing on everyday wear and offering a more accessible price point, Le Tote positions itself as a practical alternative to Rent the Runway for customers looking for versatility and affordability in their daily dressing options. The inclusion of maternity wear also taps into a specific market segment that traditional and online fashion retailers often underserve.


Nuuly is a subscription-based fashion rental service launched by Urban Outfitters Inc. in 2019. It competes with Rent the Runway by offering a distinct blend of contemporary, vintage, and premium denim wear, catering primarily to a younger demographic interested in fashion trends and sustainability. Here’s how Nuuly differentiates itself and competes with Rent the Runway:

  1. Brand Variety: Nuuly features a wide range of brands from URBN’s portfolio, including Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, as well as various other well-known labels and vintage pieces. This broad selection appeals to customers looking for trendy, casual, and bohemian styles alongside more conventional designer wear.
  2. Subscription Model: Nuuly subscribers can rent six items per month for a flat fee, which includes shipping, returns, and laundry. This model is particularly attractive for those who want to frequently refresh their wardrobe with new styles without the commitment of purchase, competing directly with Rent the Runway’s similar subscription offerings.
  3. Pricing and Value: Priced at a competitive rate, Nuuly’s subscription model offers good value for money, especially given the number of items users can rent each month. This pricing strategy appeals to budget-conscious consumers who are still interested in exploring new fashion without the high cost of designer labels.
  4. Sustainability Focus: Nuuly emphasizes its commitment to sustainability, appealing to eco-conscious consumers. By promoting clothing rental as a way to reduce waste and extend the life of garments, Nuuly aligns with a growing consumer interest in sustainable fashion practices, a trend also important to Rent the Runway’s business model.
  5. Market Segment Focus: Nuuly targets a somewhat younger demographic than Rent the Runway, focusing on individuals who are interested in incorporating unique and eclectic styles into their everyday attire. This focus on a trendier, more casual aesthetic differentiates it from Rent the Runway, which traditionally stocked more formal and high-end designer wear, though Rent the Runway also caters to a broad audience.
  6. Flexibility and Accessibility: Nuuly allows subscribers to buy any of the items they rent at a discounted price, which adds an element of flexibility and entices users to try out and then purchase clothes they love. This option is similar to Rent the Runway’s but is emphasized differently, given Nuuly’s brand variety and price points.
  7. User Experience: Nuuly invests in a user-friendly digital experience, making browsing, selecting, and managing rentals straightforward and enjoyable. This focus on customer experience is crucial in retaining subscribers and fostering a positive brand relationship.

By offering a unique selection of clothing that ranges from mainstream to niche vintage styles, coupled with a competitive pricing model, Nuuly presents a compelling alternative to traditional fashion retail and rental services like Rent the Runway. Nuuly’s appeal to younger, style-conscious, and environmentally aware consumers helps it carve out a distinct position in the competitive fashion rental market.


Armoire competes with Rent the Runway by offering a personalized clothing rental service that focuses on professional and high-end casual wear for women. Armoire targets busy professional women looking for a hassle-free way to maintain a stylish and varied wardrobe without the time commitment typically involved in shopping. Here’s how Armoire differentiates itself and competes with Rent the Runway:

  1. Personalized Curation: Armoire uses advanced algorithms and personal stylists to curate clothing selections tailored to each subscriber’s style preferences, fit, and needs. This personalized service aims to reduce the decision fatigue associated with choosing outfits, making it particularly appealing for professional women with limited time to shop.
  2. Focus on Professional Wear: Unlike Rent the Runway, which offers a broad range of clothing from evening wear to casual attire, Armoire places a strong emphasis on chic, professional wear. This makes it an ideal choice for working women who need office-appropriate outfits that can also transition to after-work events.
  3. Subscription Flexibility: Armoire offers various subscription plans that allow members to rent a set number of items per month. These items can be kept for as long as you like and then swapped for new ones upon return. This model provides continuous wardrobe refreshment, similar to Rent the Runway’s subscription service, but with a distinct emphasis on professional attire.
  4. Boutique Approach: Armoire provides items from boutique designers and up-and-coming brands, giving members access to unique and less mainstream clothing. This approach appeals to those looking for distinctive styles that are only sometimes worn.
  5. Sustainability and Ethical Fashion: Armoire promotes sustainability by extending the lifecycle of garments and encouraging less wasteful consumer behavior. They also highlight their support for women-led brands and ethically produced clothing, aligning with the values of their target demographic, which may prioritize ethical considerations in their purchasing decisions.
  6. Try-and-Buy Option: Similar to other rental services, Armoire offers members the option to purchase items they love at a discounted price. This option adds value for members who may find staple pieces they wish to add to their wardrobes permanently.
  7. Community Building: Armoire actively fosters a community around its brand by organizing events and building platforms for member interaction. This community aspect enhances the customer experience and builds brand loyalty and retention.
  8. Customer Service and User Experience: Armoire prides itself on excellent customer service, providing easy returns, dry cleaning, and hassle-free exchanges. This high level of service is crucial for maintaining a premium experience and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Armoire’s tailored approach to professional and high-end casual wear and personalized styling services make it a unique player in the clothing rental market. While Rent the Runway offers a broader array of styles, including formal and everyday wear, Armoire’s niche focus on professional attire and personalized curation offers a compelling alternative for professional women seeking convenience and style without the commitment of a traditional wardrobe.

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee competes with Rent the Runway by focusing specifically on offering clothing rental services for plus-size women. Gwynnie Bee’s unique value proposition lies in its sizes 0-32 specialization. It provides a wide range of fashionable clothing options for a demographic that often needs more choices in traditional and online retail. Here’s how Gwynnie Bee positions itself against Rent the Runway:

  1. Size-Inclusive Options: Gwynnie Bee caters to plus-size women, offering various styles and brands tailored to fit sizes 0-32. This focus on inclusivity helps to fill a significant gap in the market, providing stylish and modern clothing options for a segment of the population that mainstream fashion retailers frequently underserve.
  2. Subscription-Based Model: Similar to Rent the Runway, Gwynnie Bee operates on a subscription model. Customers can rent clothes, wear them as often as they like, and then return them to swap for new ones. Subscribers can keep the items they love for a more extended period or purchase them at a discounted rate.
  3. Unlimited Exchanges and Free Laundry: Gwynnie Bee allows unlimited exchanges in its subscriptions, and it takes care of all laundry and dry cleaning, ensuring that garments are professionally cleaned and handled between rentals. This service provides convenience and ensures that the clothes arrive in excellent condition.
  4. Wide Variety of Styles: Although Gwynnie Bee focuses on plus-size apparel, it offers a diverse range of clothing styles, including workwear, casual dresses, trendy outfits, and more. This variety ensures subscribers can find outfits for all occasions, from the office to social gatherings.
  5. Free Shipping Both Ways: Gwynnie Bee offers free shipping when sending out items and returns. This policy simplifies the process for subscribers and enhances the overall user experience by reducing the additional costs typically associated with online shopping and rentals.
  6. Trial Offers: Gwynnie Bee often offers new subscribers a free trial period, allowing them to test the service before committing to a paid subscription. This trial effectively attracts new customers who may be hesitant to sign up without experiencing the service first.
  7. Community and Support: Gwynnie Bee fosters a supportive community where members can share their fashion experiences, styling tips, and garment reviews. This community aspect helps build a loyal customer base and offers a platform for engagement and feedback.
  8. Marketing Focus: Gwynnie Bee’s marketing campaigns often center around body positivity and the empowerment of plus-size women. These messages resonate strongly with their target audience and help differentiate the brand in a competitive market.

While Rent the Runway serves a broader audience with a wide range of sizes and styles, including high-end designer wear for special occasions, Gwynnie Bee’s focus on plus-size fashion and everyday styles offers a distinct alternative that appeals to women looking for size inclusivity and practical fashion solutions. This specialization enables Gwynnie Bee to provide a tailored and highly appreciated service for its niche market.

Stitch Fix 

Stitch Fix competes with Rent the Runway by offering a different model of fashion consumption that blends personal styling with the convenience of home delivery. While Rent the Runway focuses on renting high-end fashion for special occasions and everyday wear through subscriptions, Stitch Fix provides a personalized shopping service that sells clothing directly to consumers. Here’s how Stitch Fix positions itself against Rent the Runway:

  1. Personalization and Styling Service: Stitch Fix uses a combination of algorithmic recommendations and human stylists to curate clothing items based on individual customer preferences, sizes, and style requirements. Customers fill out a detailed style quiz, and Stitch Fix delivers a personalized selection directly to their door. This service model focuses on customization and convenience, differing from Rent the Runway’s rental model.
  2. Purchase Instead of Rent: Unlike Rent the Runway, where users rent clothes and return them, Stitch Fix customers purchase the items they want to keep from their Stitch Fix box and send back what they don’t like. This model appeals to those who prefer to own their clothes rather than rent, offering a sense of permanence and personal wardrobe building.
  3. No Subscription Required: While Stitch Fix offers the option of scheduled deliveries, customers can also choose to receive boxes on demand without a subscription. This flexibility is attractive to customers who prefer to avoid committing to regular shipments or fees, contrasting with Rent the Runway’s subscription-based model.
  4. Wide Range of Brands and Styles: Stitch Fix provides access to various brands, ranging from well-known names to exclusive labels across a full range of sizes, including plus, petite, and maternity. This broad selection ensures something for nearly everyone, not just those seeking designer labels or special occasion wear.
  5. Pricing and Accessibility: Stitch Fix’s pricing strategy is based on market retail prices, and customers can set their price preferences for items in their profile, which helps control the cost of items they receive. This differs from Rent the Runway, which may require a higher budget due to the nature of the designer apparel offered.
  6. Market Segment Focus: Stitch Fix targets a broad demographic interested in fashion but perhaps lacking the time or desire to shop in traditional ways. Its service is designed to simplify the shopping process and is particularly appealing to those looking for an effortless way to refresh their wardrobe regularly.
  7. Ease of Use and Customer Experience: The process of receiving, trying on, and returning or keeping clothes is straightforward and managed from the comfort of the customer’s home. This convenience factor is a significant draw for customers who value time and seek a hassle-free shopping experience.
  8. Data-Driven Approach: Stitch Fix relies heavily on data analytics to refine its personalization process. It continuously learns from customer feedback to improve the accuracy of its style recommendations over time.

Stitch Fix’s unique business model, focusing on personalized shopping and direct purchases, offers an alternative to traditional retail and rental services like Rent the Runway. It caters to consumers looking for a tailored shopping experience that simplifies the process of updating their wardrobe with items curated just for them, which they can keep and integrate into their long-term clothing collection.

Check out the competitor analysis of global businesses