Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Rise of Social Media and The Sharing Economy

 Are we in the midst of a shift away from the hyper-consumption of the 20th century to an age of shared product usage and reduced sole product ownership?

In todays blog post we delve into a recent study on “the sharing economy” by the Latitude Group and Shareable Magazine. The study reviews future consumption trends,  one of them being Collaborative Consumption.

What is Collaborative Consumption?

Collaborative consumption re-focuses the motivation around consumer goods to encourage models of sharing, swapping, lending, trading, saving or renting.  The concept, championed as: “a new socio-economic ‘big idea’, in: “What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption” by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, promises a revolution in the way we look at products and the way we consume. The idea is concurrent with the environmental zeitgeist and thoughts of sustainability coupled with an eye for economic frugality in the wake of the global meltdown.

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Collaborative Consumption
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What makes Collaborative Consumption so viable is its compatibility to technology, which is creating a movement on a scale never seen before. Collaborative Consumption is accessible to everyone, and is a game-changing opportunity to transform businesses by creating greater flexibility and less dependence on ownership rather than availability. On a personal level, if you’ve used Zipcar, donated or benefitted from Freecycle, or thought about the benefits of renting your property on AirBnB, you are already part of the rise of Collaborative Consumption.

From the traction Collaborative Consumption has already created it looks like it will continue to grow and evolve to outstrip previous models of consumption. Most importantly, Collaborative Consumption is making us think and challenge what we consume and the way we consume it. Ideas of ownership and assumed identity from product purchases may change from a personal to global perspective highlighting the importance of the use, design and wear of the product as a higher necessity. New marketplaces such as Zilok, thredUP and Bartercard are placing the power in “peer-to-peer” transactions, potentially making them the default channel for the way people exchange. The result could be corporate to grassroots power shift in product exchange.