The Future of Collaborative Consumption

Collaborative consumption – our future?

For my final post I am exploring the future of "Collaborative Consumption", because I would like to find out if it is possible to implement this in our world in order to answer the question if people have to focus on this concept because it will be of significance to them prospectively.

In my research I found out that there are three main categories that promote the collaborative consumption: Technology, Economy and Society

In the following I am going to explore what supports and what harms these driving forces.

Technology

The technology sector shows innovative development that encourages sharing.

Sohin Shah supports the idea that consumer behavior changed due to economic development in – among others – increasing demand for social networking and online platforms. It is obvious that networking encourages sharing, because it facilitates communication and connection.

However Chris Maag analyses that the development of the sharing economy is connected to the development of trust in the internet as well. He claims that if trust in the internet and thereby in the platforms/networks does not increase, the development of collaborative consumption will be harmed extensively.

Maag’s argumentation is reasonable due to the fact that there are for instance a lot of people who suffer from techno-phobia and who are consequently more likely to not consider sharing online. Thus, a huge part of the economy would be inaccessible for them.

Society

In the society there are also drivers for collaborative consumption.

For once there is a demand for sustainability.

Some see sharing, with its mantra that “access trumps ownership”, as a post-crisis antidote to materialism and overconsumption. The Economist: All Eyes on the Sharing Economy

Nevertheless The Economist promotes that new rules have to be established, because the existing ones are only adapted to the existing economy. However the new market-model requires laws for consumer protection etc. as well.

Besides people are searching for communities, they have the desire to belong to something. Collaborative consumption enables them to satisfy their want.

In contrary to that Neal Gorenflo claims that as collaborative consumption gets more spread people might loose the interest in it, because you will face a lack of social experiences made which captured the attention of many people in the first place.

Generally the desire to get something you do not have is stronger than the interest you loose in something because it is no longer a special thing but mainstream. Therefore the disinterest might not influence people that much.

Economy

Economic aspects promote collaborative consumption as well.

Marc Suster points out that current situations like unemployment in Spain, Greece and other countries affected by the financial crisis call for a change of consumer behavior.

In my mind there is no doubt this a lifetime trend. […] necessity is the mother of all invention.

Kelly Mc Cartney even claims that “with the sharing economy gaining more and more steam, major corporations can either hop on board or get run right over…” whereby he promotes a recently published report from the Alimeter Group.

On the other side of this argumentation one observes strong opponents to this attitude.
Milo Yiannopoulos might be the biggest public opponent of the sharing economy. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of "The Kernel" and holds the opinion that collaborative consumption contradicts the "human nature, entrepreneurship, free-market capitalism and even common sense". He entitles the concept to be an ideology.

Conclusion

So what does this tell us? People’s opinions are different and everyone has a profound argumentation. If the collaborative consumption will last finally, nobody knows for sure. However it is a matter of fact that due to the global development a change of consumer behavior is made an thus there will have to be a change in economic behavior accordingly.

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