collaborative consumption – a new market ?

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Collaborative consumption is a fledgling market traversing many sectors from transport, retail and banking to name a few.

At an event at Nesta last week, Rachel Botsman talked about her upcoming book “What’s mine is yours” and described collaborative consumption as falling into 3 distinct groups.

Product service systems Paying for the use of a product as opposed to owning it. (Streetcar, Whipcar, Barclays Cycle Hire, Liftshare, GoCarShare, Lovefilm, Whipbikes, ecomodo)

Redistribution markets redistributing used and pre-owned goods to someone who wants them (Freegle, Ebay, Big Wardrobe, JumbleAid, Lourish, Gumtree, Swishing)

Collaborative lifestyles The sharing swapping and bartering of time, space, skills and money (Zopa, Crashpadder, Landshare, Sponsume, ecomodo)

She outlined why the time is ripe for a market in sharing to flourish and illustrated 4 distinct trends:

  • Pressing unresolved environmental concerns
  • Global recession that has fundamentally shocked consumer behaviour
  • A renewed belief in the importance of community
  • A torrent of social technologies that enables scalability of services

Three years ago we also anticipated the convergence of these trends and they were one of the triggers that started us on our journey to build Ecomodo.

Understanding that the growth of social activity on the web would continue and act as an enabler, we realised we needed to find alternative ways to inspire and motivate people to change their behaviour.

Through user-centered research we indentified: the growing focus towards the environment; the increase in social values; and a move towards austerity appearing across different sectors within local communities. We choose to use these trends as an approach for a motivational model. From here, we developed the notion of lending for free, a fee or for charity as a way to reach diverse groups that can live geographically very close within our cities, towns and villages.

Other key topics from the talk were on the importance of brand and trust. Brand plays a critical role in the adoption of collaborative consumption services. Brand is the reason “hotels do not call themselves places for ‘bed sharing'”. Brand can provide trust through transparency and dialogue as well as weed of bad behaviour.

Interesting quotes from the talk.

6 of of 10 people in the UK do not know their neighbours names

80% of the things we own get used less than once a month

29 million cars in the UK sit not used for 23 hours of the day


See the Full video of the event at Nesta.

Further reading: Kevin Kelly (Wired Magazine) “Access is better than ownership

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