Collaborative Consumption

What is Collaborative Consumption?

It is a new economic model based on renting, lending, sharing, swapping and gifting. – Links in with sustainability.


Examples: Netflix, Air Bnb (pay to stay in other peoples houses), Keep and Share (knitted garments for hire or for sharing), Mud Jeans (jeans for hire), Bag, Borrow or steal (bags for hire).

People seem to be moving away from the tradition of owning an object or product, and moving more towards having something for a period of time and then giving it back. We don’t seem to want the physical thing, instead we just want what it does.


Examples: Social media, Repair Café (take objects that need repairing and exchange them for other items that need repairing, give them back once they are repaired. Swapping skills)

We are more keen to share what we are doing with people we do not know. This could be anything from what crafts we are currently doing, to who we are meeting for lunch. Filling a need for interaction with other people, but perhaps not a physical interaction.


Examples: Apples for Eggs (swapping home grown food produce), The Mass Cider Project (taking apples from people with apple trees and giving them some of the cider they make, as a thank you), Burning Man Festival (no money is exchanged, only ‘things’)

This idea is being used more because people do not necessarily have the money to buy things, so are exchanging other things that may have some value. I personally really like this idea because you can swap something that may not have value to you nut does for someone else, therefore you know that it will be appreciated and not forgotten about it. Which is quite nice.

Redistribution and Gifting:

Examples: Freecycle, Incredible Edible, Ebay, The Real Junk Food Project (collect unused food from restaurants and then make meals which you pay however much you think it is worth)

I love this because i personally find it more exciting if i have been given something that has been loved by somebody else and has a story behind it than getting something brand new.

Early examples:

  • Libraries
  • Video Rental
  • Launderette
  • Rental Car Services (Enterprise)

Evolution of Collaborative consumption

Economic Recession

  • Cheaper
  • Extra income

Environmental Concerns

  • Impact of making brand new products
  • The life cycle of a product – they last longer, harder to break down

Social Media

  • Shift from small scale to a much larger scale
  • Exposed to a much larger audience

Desire for meaningful interactions

  • Being part of the community
  • Encourages people to be individual

Generation ‘Y’

  • Prioritise access over ownership
  • More access to products
  • Don’t need to own something
  • Web-based identity


Trust is central to collaborative consumption because you have to trust the other party that is involved with the swapping of products. You have to trust that you will get a product from someone you don’t know, when you give the money. There are systems put in place to encourage trust. For example, seller reviews/feedback, this allows you to see how other people found the service and judge from that if you want to use them.

‘Critical Mass’

This means that there is a want for something from a large amount of people which means that the product/service appeals to the mass and not just a few, which is why it is sustainable.


Collaborative design

  • Design your own product; the colours, shapes, i.e Nike trainers

Crowd Sourcing


Peer to peer selling

  • Etsy – contact the designer directly. No middle man.


There is no definite future for this as it is unknown if there will always be a need for collaborative consumption, but i hope there will be. It could help towards your online reputation, through reviews as people will be able to see if you are reliable. This may overtake the need for credit ratings because this information can be accesses easily.


This may mean that designers become more about services and interaction rather than just products or things. They will be able to pass on their knowledge and share what they know.

‘The Case For Collaborative Consumption’ 

This is a lecture by Rachel Botsman that we listened to in our lecture which discusses how were work as consumers and how we share what we do with one another.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s