Collaborative Consumption – I’m Ready and Waiting
The collaborative consumption concept – making better use of our world’s resources through sharing transport and other assets – is probably not new to you. It’s also likely you’re aware that the sharing economy is on the rise. There are so many good reasons to adopt this alternative way of consuming – saving costs by borrowing and recycling items, using less resource at a time when the world is running out, or simply getting a good product or deal. That’s a lot of positives. And there are sure fire signs of its success (eBay, Craigslist, Zopa, Zipcar, AirBnB, RelayRides, LoveFilm to name drop just a few of the most recognised examples). TIME Magazine recently labelled Collaborative Consumption one of the “10 Ideas That Will Change the World” and you can understand why. Another significant and weighty seal of approval indicating that collaborative consumption is here to stay.
It’s even begun to play a significant part in changing consumer behaviour and attitude. But not significant enough… yet. It would be fair to call me a (very) slow-starter in terms of collaborative consumption. But if I’ve tuned in to and am behind this alternative (I sure as hell want to be a part of the solution, not the problem) I’m pretty sure I’m not alone and that in fact there’s a mass of other people like me open to and ready to adopt a different way of buying and consuming.
But let’s put the do-good factors aside. By their own merit, the practical, value-for-money, more commercial selling points of collaborative consumption offerings should be attractive enough to make this an easy behaviour change. Surely they’re going to appeal to those who seek more personal benefits and are less interested in the shared advantages of recycling for example. At the very least they should coax consumers taking a second look because these days who doesn’t shop around for the best deal?
And herein lies both my question and frustration. When will we see these names on billboards, on the high street, on TV, not just making their mark on the mainstream but taking it over and evolving the way we consume so that we prolong our time on this planet? Consumer needs are satisfied, and collectively as a race we’re making a more intelligent, careful use of the earth’s resources. Adoption has been far greater in the BRIC countries, LATAM and Spain particularly. So what is it holding some Western countries back – regulation, attitude? Is it a generational thing (research shows that Generation Y –born circa 1983 – loves to share)? What’s holding you back?
In no way do I mean to undermine the success and growth so many well-established collaborative consumption initiatives have already achieved. Kudos to all aforementioned collcons leaders and to HouseBites, milk.ly, RideJoy and the many other impressive new players making their mark. The underlying sentiment of my article is one of hope and anticipation, rather than disappointment and scepticism. It’s going to happen – soon. It has to. This movement is poised and ready to challenge the big boys. We’ve seen BMW adapt to these changing times by offering a car-sharing scheme – so what’s next, what’s needed to finally shift human behaviour so we can enjoy this planet for a little longer? I know I’m ready for it too and I’m Generation X – evidence this trend is on its way to the mainstream. When you consider that Internet adoption rates continue to rise and that technology is a catalyst for collaborative consumption, the Law of Accelerating Returns suggests we’re poised for that evolution. Get ready – I certainly am.
Article By Linsay Duncan
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