This report offers critical insight for big brands who are grappling with the emergence of the collaborative economy and for the startups that are driving this growth. For those new to the term, the collaborative economy is a powerful, if nascent, movement in which people are getting the things from each other—what is often called the “sharing economy”, or even making them outright—also known as the “maker movement”. (See our short video for an overview.) Just as social media enabled peer-to-peer sharing of content, the collaborative economy enables peer-to-peer sharing of goods, services, transportation, space and money.
The collaborative economy matters to established brands because in this movement, people can get what they need from each other—often bypassing traditional means. The people formerly called “consumers” aren’t simply consumers: they are also funders, producers, sellers and distributors.
That means that many customers go to a site like eBay to buy pre-owned goods, instead of buying new products from retailers. Rather than staying at hotels, customers go to a site like Airbnb and rent rooms from other customers. And instead of borrowing money from big banks, customers can go to Lending Club or Kiva to finance their new business, their education or their next big purchase.
The collaborative economy is disruptive because it allows customers not just to share goods, services, transportation, money or space with each other—it allows them to compete with established brands.
While the collaborative economy is poised to disrupt many industries, there is remarkably little data on how many people participate in sharing, who they are, and, most importantly, why they do it. “Sharing is the New Buying” paints a picture of the sharers in the collaborative economy and provides important recommendations for businesses that want to win in this new economy.