Devavrat Purohit

Marketing Channels and the Durable Goods Monopolist: Renting versus SellingReconsidered

Research on durable goods has shown that because of a time inconsistency problem, a monopolist manufacturer prefers to rent rather than sell its product. We reexamine the relative profitability of renting versus selling from a marketing perspective. In particular, using a simple linear demand formulation, we assume a durable goods monopolist has to use downstream intermediaries to market its product. In contrast to the case of an integrated monopolist, we find that when the monopolist has to rely on intermediaries, then it prefers to go through an intermediary that sells rather than one that rents its product. Similarly, the intermediary that sells the product is more profitable than the intermediary that rents the product. However, if the monopolist can commit to a set of prices, then the intermediary that rents is more profitable than the intermediary that sells.