Spend or Share: The Rise in Collaborative Consumption

After having read Rachel Botsmans book titled “What’s Mine Is Yours,” I started looking into the idea and philosophies behind collaborative consumption. Yes, I’m an avid couch surfer, I’m a Zipcar member, and I even occasionally use TaskRabbit but I still wasn’t seeing the bigger movement happening around me. It hit me shortly after when talking with my colleagues in the Zimride office that I was in the midst of a huge movement. A movement to share and collaborate instead of consuming and wasting. Maybe it’s the economy. Maybe it’s the climate change. Who knows… but I do know one thing. People’s mindsets are embracing the idea of collaborative consumption and change is coming. Fast.

Since the times of hyper-consumption, economics have changed and people’s mindset’s have progressed. What used to be regarded as an indication of higher social standing, now dimly sits behind the new trend of being wisely economical. Status and happiness no longer arise from owning an abundance of material goods. It now comes from connecting and collaborating with those around you to share common goals and common goods.

The value in sharing goods and services has become so important in boosting individual’s moods, creating support networks, and savings households big money that companies have begun to pop up to specifically accomodate these nationwide priorities. Investors are seeing, understanding and appreciating the value these companies offer which explains why many of these companies have also received big funding. Taskrabbit (hire someone to do tasks), Ubercab (immediate car service), Airbnb (rent personal home space), and Zipcar (carshare) are just a few of the highly succuessful companies whom have focused their niche around the idea of collaborative consumption. Why lose sleep and increase stress over completing low priority tasks when you can easily utilize other people’s down time and hire them to compelte the task for you? Why stay in a quiet and generic hotel room when you can utilize someone’s free space in their cozy home? Why drive independantly from others going the same direction when you could share the ride, share the costs, and share the conversations?  Better yet, why not share the car and the ride?

Gone are the days of hyper consumption where consumers purchased one new piece of clothing every 5.5 days, where we quickly succumbed to the over 3,000 advertising messages we see per day, and where we indirectly supported having more malls in America than schools. Consumers now days are savvy, economical and collaborative. Why? Because saving money, space, and time will never go out of style.

Rachel Botsman's Chart on Collaborative Consumption

Rachel Botsman's Chart on Collaborative Consumption