Collaborative Consumption

Useful or Useless ?


I am working on the topic of Collaborative Consumption also referred to as ‘the sharing economy’. I am working on the topic of Collaborative Consumption also referred to as the Sharing Economy, because I would like to find out whether it is a concept companies tend to implement increasingly as well as what advantages and disadvantages it comes along with, so that businesses know if it is worth considering this alternative way of operating.

I would like to start pointing out advantages and disadvantages of the sharing economy.

Firstly, from the consumer’s point of view, it is a lot cheaper to share e.g. a car, than to own it solely. In my research I found out, that one guy is able to save 16800 $ annually by sharing. For further information visit: http://p2pfoundation.net/CollaborativeConsumption#EconomicValue.

Then, on the one hand, vendors profit over a longer period from one single asset as they can lent it several times and thus charge consumers each time. On the other hand, this is considered to be a loss for producers, because the assets loose value over time and may not meet the latest standard so that demand might decrease.

A very essential argument in favor of collaborative consumption is the sustainability it creates. I think especially nowadays were we live in a world full of over-consumption and corruption, it is pretty important to not forget this aspect.

Collaborative Consumption is enabling people to realize the enormous benefits of access to products and services over ownership, and at the same time, save money, space and time, make new friends, and become active citizens once again. <

This is a quotation from the currently most famous book "What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of the Collaborative Consumption" by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. I would agree with them saying, that one can save money with collaborative consumption. For example, I made the experience that it is a lot cheaper to share the car with other people when you are traveling long-distance than going by train or by airplane. However, I think it is a little bit exaggerated to state that one makes friends because of the sharing economy, because normally people share because they want to get a certain utility and not to meet new people. So I consider this to rather be a side-effect.

On top of that, some people argue that sometimes sharing is not safe. There are people who are afraid that if they for example do couch surfing, they will be robbed.

But there are already examples of businesses implementing this kind of operating-strategy.

Universities for example are using the same servers for their computers and some airlines are carrying also the packages of FedEx as well as the ones from its competitor U.S. Postal Service.

The Deutsch Bahn GmbH offers the ‘Call a Bike’ service, where people can simply rent bikes. Then there is this page www.mitfahrgelegenheit.de where people offer that you can travel with them by car or train. This for example also has the effect that less emissions are caused.

In Berlin a conference took place on (05/13/2013) – the first conference. Consequently the concept of the sharing economy is getting important increasingly. People start talking about it and thus people are considering it.

The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, expects the consumer peer-to-peer rental market to become a $26 billion industry.

Literature:

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24 thoughts on “Collaborative Consumption

  1. Brilliant!

    You might learn to use the “more” tag to present a brief abstract only on the blog start page which, when clicked, opens up to the full post: this way we can survey everyone’s posts before clicking any one of them.

    The link list at the bottom reads like footnotes for a printed document, when on the web we have conversations: if a link is important enough to be here, introduce it: explain why it is worth clicking through.

    If you announce something has an advantage or disadvantage, identify what the advantage of “one guys” solution is (give him a name as well) so I have a reason to click through.

    Limit each post to one topic, not your whole paper: better to break this up into multiple short posts and publish them every second day. Choose the most interesting argument first, for example, the concept of “sustainability”.

    Leave “on the one hand” constructions for clear advantage/disadvantage pairings.

    Bury your opinions in those of others: find the conversation on Botsman and Rogers text and let the experts come through: help us hear what the others are saying.

    You’ve found a goldmine, awakened my interest in this topic, and are on the path to genius!

    -b

  2. I would like to know how collaborative consumption is enabling people to become active citizens once again? ( as you are mentioning with that : ”Collaborative Consumption is enabling people to realize the enormous benefits of access to products and services over ownership, and at the same time, save money, space and time, make new friends, and become active citizens once again. ”

  3. Dear Verena,
    Very nice start. Many points mentioned. Maybe you should specify to one point and elaborate it from there. My question would be how much profit do drivenow or car2go make out of the cents payed per minute?

  4. great design, a little bit too long, theme – making a business or the significance of the share economy in a business plan?

  5. I think you did a really good and well funded research on this weekend. You are most likely becoming a pro in this topic! I would just add for improvement that you could make it more applicable to readers maybe shortening your post and using highlighting elements. So that, it is easier to read.

  6. Did you consider the risk of e.g. mitfahrgelegenheit.de? Actually I heard of a few stories about people who weren’t satisfied with this offer.

  7. This is a very interesting and broad topic you chose! What would interest me most is the way car2go and drivenow work and how they calculate the costs for renting the cars. Is it really worth it?
    Layout-wise, you structured your blogpost into nice little paragraphs and also used quotations, as a next step you could add subheadings.
    All in all, this is a great start and I look forward to reading more about collaborative consumption!

  8. Nice post Verena! As the topic of collaborative consumption was new for me, I was able to get an overview of it. Thanks. Next time it would be great to know more about advantages of collaborative consumption for the environment.

  9. Good Job, Verena!

    U picked a really current and ongoing topic!

    Next time, u can definitely write a shorter post and concentrate on one important segment of collaborative consumption.
    -Take your main topic
    -split it
    -write a post
    -keep it short

    advice: maybe you can take real life examples and experience from car sharing users?
    Tim works for ‘drivenow’, maybe u can do a small interview about this company..

    Keep on bloggin’!

    xxxx, L

  10. What are the dangers of collaborative consumption? e.g. Mitfahrgelegenheit and couchsurfing.
    How does it bring people together? (Aline)
    Are there ways to overcome the disadvantages? (Sandra)

  11. I really enjoyed reading your post. This is an interesting topic to think about, I guess there are a lot of people who already use this concept whithout being really aware of it. It can save you a lot of money, especially as a student a big pro. What do you think the people will use the money for that they save when consuming collaboratively?

  12. are there some legal or insurance issues that drive costs or limit activities or number of users?

  13. It is a visually attractive blog and the topic is of high interest for us young people living in a big city like Berlin. What would interest me, are the actual numbers of how it is frequented. Good job! 🙂

  14. Dear Verena,

    Thank you for your interesting approach towards Collaborative Consumption. I think your topic is very relevant since in our economy we have to find a way to make assets more sustainable. You mentioned the bike sharing service from the Deutsche Bahn but actually I would like to know how easy those services really work. In my experience biking services are often complicated and not enough bikes are available. How innovative are those services? Maybe you could write a post about new sharing companies and how effective they are lately.
    Keep it up! I will be following 🙂

  15. I would suggest you to give your readers an introduction of your topic. You might think that many people know about this issue or topic already, but some people may not. So giving an introduction would place your readers on the same level regarding the knowledge of your topic.
    But I see you have collected a great amount of information about your topic. Which makes you look like you have really dealt with it.
    I found it hard to see a structure in your blog post. So maybe you can set your post in sections.

  16. Great topic!
    I think you put a lot of efforts into research and wrote about a lot of facts,which made your post very diverse. However, I think it would be a good idea to write only about the most interesting fact in one post in order to catch the reader’s attention. This might be difficult with such a long and detailed text…
    I would like to know more about future prospects for startups in this field. Aren’t a lot of fields (cars, flats, private assets, etc.) already covered?
    This post is really good for the first one, I wish mine would look as cool as yours! 😉

  17. very professional and nice,I think you picked a strong and current topic! 😉 could be a bit shorter next time,so you should try to concentrate on one aspect and explore it more deeply…but I really liked your post :))

  18. In my opinion you chose your topic very well as it is a bit “non-businessy” but still something companies have to consider and also interesting to your audience (students who probably are very interestig in saving some of their money by sharing). The sharing ideology for me seems to be a very German thing, for instance in Finland we don’t have anything comparable to the Mitfahrgelegenheit. I would be interested to know how this collaborative consumption works in different countries, as we study International Business Management after all.

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