I want to kick off with a question – how often do you use a drill at home? Some of you may say they used it every month; the handiest of you may be using it every week. Nevertheless, let me tell you, that the drill you now own will be used for no more than 2 hours during its lifespan. What this shows is that each and every one of us has at least one object that we own, yet don't really need most of the time. And this is exactly what collaborative consumption is here to fight against. So, what is collaborative consumption?
Collaborative consumption, also known as shared economy, is a system, which is created around sharing human and physical resources. As you can see, it can refer to both objects and actual people with their time, skills and other resources. To get to grips with this concept, I suggest we explore both objects and people separately.
The simplest example of sharing objects is probably AirBnB. For those of you, not acquainted with the name, it's a website that matches people with spare rooms, flats or houses with people who want to rent them. Such property is usually used for short-term stays, particularly when people go on holiday and don't want to pay more for a hotel. The benefits here are obvious – the owner gets money for a thing he isn't currently using, and the tourist gets an affordable place to stay.
There are obviously many other examples of the same principle. Drivemycar in Australia, allows people to rent out cars to each other when they aren't using them. Zopa in UK, which is a service that enables you to borrow some money from a local person instead of paying huge interest to a bank. My personal favourite is Landshare, a service that matches people with plots of land that they don't use, with people who want to grow something on it.
When it comes to sharing economy related to human resources, there is an abundance of opportunities. DogVacay is a great example, as it allows you to leave your pet with another pet owner when you go on holiday. It is cheap and safe, so no wonder this service is growing in popularity. TaskRabbit is a mobile marketplace for people to hire people to do jobs and tasks, from delivery, to handyman or even office help. Zaarly goes even further – it creates online “stores” for people offering their services. For example, you can find there a store selling homemade pies, or one that fixes IPhones. Yet another good example is Sidecar, a ride sharing startup, now available in San Francisco and Seattle. It allows "regular" drivers to pick up people who want a ride. Drivers accept a donation, but don't charge a fee.
It is obvious that such way of consuming is not only cheaper, but also better for the environment. And even though it is yet to gain more popularity outside the US, we can already see the rest of the world joining. In case I got you curious – go and check some of the sites out, mentioned above. And who knows, maybe you will join in as well!