Examensarbete

How do students handle furniture?

Company

Cohabit is a circular furniture rental startup based in Malmö. Initially intended as a course project in the programme Leadership for Sustainability, Cohabit was launched in 2022 by three Malmö University students: Vaishnavi, Jed and Max. As international students they all experienced first-hand the challenges many other students face when it comes to furnishing their empty apartments. This gave them the business idea of renting out pre-owned furniture to students who wish to find a convenient, accessible, and affordable way of furnishing their apartments.

Today, Cohabit’s services are available in Malmö and Lund, and they aim to expand to other major student cities in the near future. Students who wish to find furniture to their dorm room or apartment do so easily by visiting Cohabit’s website and placing an order. There they can choose between different offers with e.g., beds of different sizes, tables, desks, chairs, etc., according to their needs and preferences. The furniture is delivered to the apartment and then rented out with a minimum rental duration of three months. When it is time to move out, Cohabit picks up the furniture again, so that the customer can avoid the hassle of a regular move.

Project

As Cohabit strives to grow and find more customers, they are now looking into B2B collaborations. They are currently operating B2C, addressing individual customers.  Collaborating with housing companies would simplify operations (apartments could be rented out already furnished with Cohabit’s furniture), and it would help Cohabit reach a bigger customer base. Just as important, housing companies could be a source of “new” furniture to grow Cohabit’s furniture stock as operations scale up. For these reasons, Cohabit is currently discussing potential collaborations with Heimstaden, AF Bostäder and other housing companies that offer student accommodation. To be able to offer an attractive service to different housing companies, Cohabit would now like help in better understanding the “flow of furniture” in student short-term residencies. Cohabit knows that many (especially international) students are facing challenges in first finding and then disposing of furniture when it is time to leave, but they would like help in quantifying the problem as it looks today.

In this project, you investigate the current ways in which students tackle their furniture needs, from acquiring the furniture to disposing of it. What is the percentage of students buying new furniture, as opposed to those who opt to buy second-hand? Does the acquiring method vary between different furniture categories? Is furniture changed or replaced during the residency period? When it is time to move out, which are the most common ways of then disposing of the furniture? In investigating this, it is also of relevance to query whether the housing company offer any services, either providing or disposal of furniture. Other than mapping and quantifying the flow of furniture, you also research students’ experiences, thoughts, and rationale behind their furniture choices. What aspects prompt students to choose a certain option, and how important is sustainability in this?

A survey would be the main empirical methodology for this project, with the target group consisting of people who currently live in, or have lived and since moved out of, a residence with the purpose of studying at a specific location for a shorter time period (no longer than two years).  Cohabit wants to research current trends, so the residency should not have ended pre-corona. Students with an interest in qualitative methodology are encouraged to combine the survey with, e.g., interviews or focus groups to get a better understanding of students’ experiences and attitudes towards sustainable furniture management.

Related sustainability goals 

Uppdragsgivare Cohabit
Förkunskaper You study, e.g., sustainability sciences, Service Management, social sciences or humanities
Omfattning Bachelor or master thesis
Plats Malmö
Kontaktperson

Emma Brodén
emma@sustainalink.se
0760-345141