“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

- Mahatma Gandhi


One of the biggest trends we are following is the rise of Collaborative Consumption. Collaborative Consumption describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping that has been reinvented through network technologies on a scale and in ways never possible before.


Collaborative Consumption is one of the 10 trends discussed in our 2014-15 Trends Report.

Download the full 2014-15 trends report here: 10 trends that are changing our world (PDF)


Collaborative consumption gives people the benefits of ownership with reduced personal burden and cost and also lower environmental impact—and it’s proving to be a compelling alternative to traditional forms of buying and ownership.

From enormous marketplaces such as eBay , to emerging sectors such as social lending (Zopa or Kickstarter or IndieGoGo), peer-to-peer travel (Airbnb) and car sharing (Zipcar (US), GoGet or FlexiCar (Aus) or peer-to-peer RelayRides (US), or DriveMyCar (Aus), Collaborative Consumption is disrupting outdated business models and reinventing not just what we consume but how we consume.

From car sharing services to house-swapping and from crowd-funding to cause supporting, new market places are enabling “peer-to-peer” to become the default way that people exchange — whether it’s unused space, goods, skills, money, services or even ideas.

Other examples include Uber, Airtasker,

TaskRabbitParkatmyHouseZimrideSwap.comZilok,Bartercard and thredUP  and sites like these are appearing all over the world, every day.

What are the underlying drivers causing the groundswell in collaborative consumption?

There are four key drivers that have converged to create this explosion in collaborative consumption.

They are:

  1. The Development of Peer-to-Peer Technologies;
  2. The Resurgence of Community;
  3. Environmental Concerns;
  4. A New Cost Consciousness;

Perhaps the Sunday Times (UK) summed it up best when they wrote: “Technology is increasingly enabling us to make money from our time, skills and possessions, with the agreeable side effect of strengthening our communities”.9

There are a number of car-share companies operating in Australia now. By all accounts, they work very well and present a much more affordable option for many people than car ownership. You can be certain a trend is set when an existing market participant sets up a new business model so as not to be disrupted by the new businesses: Hertz on Demand has been created to compete with the likes of ZipCar, GoGet etc.

These businesses all come under the umbrella of this trend – the shift to collaborative consumption – members of a community sharing resources for the benefit of all. The car sharing model has already developed with where the business itself does not own any vehicles but rather facilitates the connection between people who have a spare care with people wanting a car.

In much the same way the car sharing companies are doing with car rental, AirBNB is doing with accommodation, EatWith is doing with dining experiences, connecting travellers with an interest in food with hosts in cities around the world. People are becoming more connected than ever before.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Sydney-based social innovator and thought leader Rachel Botsman said: “Collaborative consumption is not a niche trend, and it’s not a reactionary blip to the recession. It’s a socioeconomic groundswell that will transform the way companies think about their value propositions—and the way people fulfil their needs.”10

We agree.

  • How might consumer’s changed attitudes to product ownership affect your business?


Collaborative Consumption is one of the 10 trends discussed in our 2014-15 Trends Report.

Download the full 2014-15 trends report here: 10 trends that are changing our world (PDF)