Peer-to-peer marketplaces, collaborative consumption, the sharing economy — people have referred to it by many names over the short time since its existence but there is no denial that the idea of renting, acccessing or sharing rather than owning something outright is controversial — and it’s taking the Internet by storm.
Over the recent years, Peer-to-peer marketplaces, of which Airbnb is the leading player, have been sprouting all over the place, but 2011 was the year in which the idea picked up more momentum. Whether you wanted to borrow or rent someone’s apartment, a bed in someones house, a bike, car, parking spot, perhaps even random household stuff, you could easily discover a marketplace to do it with ease and at a price you may find surprising.
Sharing economy, as it is often called, is a web based service which allows people from the four corners of the globe to rent cars, bikes, boats, beds in a private home or an apartment, and other assets directly from each other. So rather than own something outright and use it sparcely or not at all, you could hop on a sharing economy website and find someone who is willing to let you use or share them for a very reasonable price. It is a concept that works based on the simple philosophy that “what’s mine is yours, for a fee.”
Such “collaborative consumption” is a good thing for several reasons:
1. Owners make money from underused assets.
2. Renters save money — for example, by renting a bed in a private home rather lodging in a hotel
3. Renters also save money by paying less than they would if they bought the item outright, especially if they only use it occassionally.
4. There are also environmental benefits; e.g. renting cars instead of owning them would reduce the number of cars on roads.
5. Aside from the above, you have the social benefits too — meeting people from all works of life and having the opportunity to share personal stories.
At TrendMarketers, we believe in the philosophy of sharing economy and we do our best to be part of it by encouraging more and more people to understand and adopt the phenomenon.