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Consumer goods rental sector, 2020

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Released: 2021-10-21

Firms in the consumer goods rental and general rental centres industry groups generated a total of $2.9 billion in operating revenue in 2020, a decline of 6.2% from 2019.

These two industry groups comprise many businesses that were differently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, depending on their nature. The impact was generally positive for rental services related to the home, such as water heater and appliance rentals, as housing completions were up in 2020. However, travel advisories and restrictions led to fewer leisure and recreational rental goods sales. Furthermore, the shutdown of non-essential businesses at the onset of the pandemic in several provinces and the cancellation of group social events, such as weddings and graduations, negatively impacted general rental centres.

The four provinces with the largest shares of operating revenue in 2020 were Ontario (62.5%), Quebec (18.1%), British Columbia (7.4%) and Alberta (5.7%).

Operating expenses for these industry groups decreased 8.9% to $2.3 billion, leading to a 20.2% operating profit margin. Despite a 28.9% reduction in the workforce during the pandemic, the largest operating expense was still salaries, wages, commissions and benefits (26.8%), followed by amortization and depreciation (21.4%) and the cost of goods sold (18.6%).

The majority of sales in these industry groups were to individuals and households, which accounted for 69.9% of all sales in 2020. The business sector accounted for 26.3% of sales, with the remaining 3.8% attributable to governments, not-for-profit organizations, public institutions and clients outside Canada.

Looking ahead to 2021

Some of the factors observed in 2020 will continue to impact consumer goods rental and general rental centres in 2021. While the economy has been recovering, business operating restrictions were still in place in many provinces during the third and fourth waves of the pandemic. However, businesses in these industry groups are adapting their operating methods by retrofitting their workplaces and expanding contactless business models. Furthermore, housing construction levels—higher than they have been in decades—will continue to fuel demand for rental services related to the home, providing an impetus for growth in the consumer goods rental industry group.

While preliminary indicators are generally more positive for these industry groups, a complete financial picture for the 2021 reference year will be provided when survey data are collected in 2022.

  Note to readers

Data for 2019 have been revised.

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