Friday, 20 January, 2012 at 1:19 pm
In 2010 Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers published a book which described how traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping; were being reinvented through network technologies. Since then it has defined a whole new set of categories for emerging start-ups and well established business – some of which extremely successful – to be grouped. Generally the media reaction has been extremely positive, yet some still doubt if Collaborative Consumption has emerged to stay.
The rise of these new businesses is no coincidence. Their existence is common sense given the conditions in which they arise:
- What friend and neighbour means has been re-defined. There is a renewed belief in the importance of community.
- The way we behave socially has shifted. We live a torrent of peer-to-peer social networks and real-time technologies.
- The environment has become a major concern for consumers.
- Our economic business model is currently proving to be unsustainable. A global recession has socked consumer behaviours worldwide.
And, have you ever thought of how ridiculously easy is it to form groups in the media? Mobile connection has wired the world to share and sharing behaviours through sites such as flicker or twitter are being applied offline in our everyday lives. From morning commutes, to the way we travel, to the way we grow food – can and are being redefined.
Airbnb was founded in 2008 and today you can rent a space in 192 countries. Their service grew by 800% in 2010. In 2008 Taskrabbit was founded too. The average amount that a taskrabbit errand “runner” makes a year today is close to £10,000. The amount that the average user makes on Rentoid renting out video gaming systems is over £120 a month. Whether it is space, skills or asserts: it is all being shared.
Collaborative Consumption is disrupting outdated modes of business too. In 2009, for the first time, the number of Americans who gave-up their cars was greater than those who purchased new cars. It was a 4 million people difference. Car sharing platforms proved to be successful. In year 2000 there were 2,500 car sharing member in North America, with one car for every 16 people. A decade later there were over half a million car sharing members with one car for every 50 people. This clear demand has made companies such as BMW, Peugeot, and Hertz to invest and create their own car-sharing platforms all of which are now in their early stages.
The new age is a fact: it is happening, regardless of whether we say “yes” or “no”. Collaborative consumption has set strong foundations to stay. The only decisive question will be how we prove ourselves in these new circumstances. New values are being established and goals are being set to match them.