Collaborative consumption, labelled by Time Magazine as one of the ten ideas that will change the world1, is an emergent movement whereby a culture of ‘what’s mine is yours’ is invented through the peer to peer exchanging of goods. Gagan Mehra interprets Collaborative Consumption to be a matching of suppliers with consumers in a large-scale manner. According to Lauren Anderson from Collaborative Consumption, this change might be as extreme as the Industrial Revolution (as the “me” in the Industrial Revolution will be replaced by “we”).2
This movement can ultimately be interpreted as a cure to consumer guilt (one of the issues I touched on a couple of days ago). Users aren’t actually wasting away their consumer products/services as sharing is a cleaner, fresher alternative to owning (which only leads to clutter due to lack of space). Is this movement a reaction to the fact that we can no longer afford to personally own so many things?3 We don’t constantly use the products and services we own, so why not share/sell them amongst ourselves and make a little money on the side?
It’s a fact this movement is quickly setting a trend in the post-modern technological era, as what started online as the sharing of information has quickly turned into a full-fledged economy, with individuals sharing their homes, cars and skills with the help of computers and mobile smartphones.5 There are an endless amount of services online that cover these examples, such as; ebay.com, airbnb.com, zaarly.com, skillshare.com and craigslist.com.
To compliment this contemporary development, there are a variety of positive points to supplement this movement, such as; the obvious reduction of costs (hiring out shared resources such as furniture and other equipment could help you get your business started quickly), the increase in revenue (through renting idle goods and services as mentioned above) and the endless amount of relationships to be built (new customers and partnerships associations can only mean good things to your business, resulting in new opportunities).
- TIME. 2011. 10 Ideas That Will Change the World. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2059521_2059717_2059710,00.html. [Accessed 04 July 12]
- TechCrunch.com/ Andrew Keen. 2011. Why The Collaborative Consumption Revolution Might Be As Significant As The Industrial Revolution (TCTV). [ONLINE] Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/14/why-the-collaborative-consumption-revolution-might-be-as-significant-as-the-industrial-revolution-tctv/. [Accessed 04 July 12]
- Article3/ Sona Makker. 2012. Collaborative Consumption: The Cure for Consumer Guilt?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.article-3.com/collaborative-consumption-the-cure-for-consumer-guilt-97705. [Accessed 04 July 12]
- Sona Makker, (2012), Unbounded-Marketplaces-Collaborative-Consumption [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.article-3.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Unbounded-Marketplaces-Collaborative-Consumption.jpg [Accessed 04 July 12]
- Practical Commerce/ Gagan Mehra. 2012. Collaborative Consumption Can Help Your Ecommerce Business. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/3610-Collaborative-Consumption-Can-Help-Your-Ecommerce-Business. [Accessed 04 July 12]
a) CollaborativeConsumption.com. 2011. Collaborative Consumption Hub. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com/the-movement/. [Accessed 04 July 12]