What Is Collaborative Consumption?

Collaborative Consumption is a model based on the sharing economy. It is an approach where the consumer’s access to goods and services is predicated on a peer-to-peer framework. Under this model, consumers perform the dual role of ‘obtainer’ and ‘provider’ of products and services to other consumers in the market place either directly or through the intervention of an intermediary.

Here, unlike conventional consumption that polarized the role of producers and consumers as active and passive, respectively, the collaborative consumption model allows consumers to switch roles in the production and consumption cycle.

The significance of this approach is twofold, namely:

  1. Cost: The cost of acquiring goods or services will not be the sole responsibility of an individual. Instead, the cost is shared amongst a larger group that requires the resources at any given time. The redistribution of cost in this regard makes goods and services that are ordinarily out of reach, accessible, and within reach.

  1. It ensures that resources that are rarely utilized or unused are better and efficiently maximized through sharing.

While collaborative consumption had been existing before the advent of the internet through bartering, lending, leasing, renting and gifting, it has gained more prominence in recent times, particularly in the real estate industry.

For instance, Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows homeowners to rent or lease a part or whole of their abode to others who need it. Homeowners could also take advantage of the platform to recoup a sizable portion of the purchase price by renting or leasing the property to several others at separate times, thereby making the property accessible and affordable to many.

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