Analysis of the Impact of Collaborative Consumption on Consumer Habits

Bachelor Thesis, 2020

85 Pages, Grade: 2.3


Table of Content

Index of Figures

Index of Tables

Index of Abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Research Question
1.2 Objective
1.3 Methodological Procedure

2 Collaborative Consumption
2.1 Definition
2.2 Role of the platform
2.3 Relevant Markets
2.4 Types of Collaborative Consumption
2.5 Driving Forces
2.6 Motives of use

3 Methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Development of the Questionnaire
3.3 Execution of the Research

4 Data Analysis

5 Discussion

6 Conclusion
6.1 Summary
6.2 Achievement of Objective
6.3 Outlook



Index of Figures

Figure 1: The intermediary platform

Figure 2: Age distribution

Figure 3: Level of education

Figure 4: Familiarity & usage across industries

Figure 5: Usage in relation to age

Figure 6: Share of providers

Figure 7: Reasons for usage

Figure 8: Reasons for usage in relation to age

Figure 9: Reasons for usage of regular consumers and enthusiasts

Figure 10: Evaluation of future usage

Figure 11: Evaluation of future usage in relation to the level of education

Figure 12: Importance of different aspects of consumption

Figure 13: Importance of different aspects of consumption for regular consumers and enthusiasts

Figure 14: Polarity profile in relation to consumer group

Index of Tables

Table 1: Gender and age

Table 2: Evaluation of financial situation in comparison to the average citizen

Table 3: Polarity profile

Index of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1 Introduction

„On the whole, you find wealth much more in use than in ownership”1, has been claimed by Aristotle already and finds its way back into our lives with Collaborative Consumption. Collaboration and sharing cannot be seen as new developments. Indeed, sharing has always existed in human life and was needed for survival. The most basic way of sharing could be seen as the mother sharing her body with her unborn child during pregnancy or sharing her milk during nurture. The same way as people shared food in the past, families share items within households today. Sharing is perceived as a way of caring for others but also supports to strengthen links within communities.2 In this context, mutualism and reciprocity are seen as the core of existence.3 However, the way of living has changed for many people in the last decades, which resulted in social detachment and increasing importance of ownership. While this way of living has been intensified by the industrialization, with the re-emergence of this concept, new business approaches have arisen, noticing that collaboration is indeed valuable. With new business models emphasizing the sharing aspect, companies like Airbnb, Netflix, and Uber have been established, which have contributed to a transition in traditional industries like hospitality, mobility, and media. Today, this new approach enjoys a growing relevance in daily life. Collaborative Consumption companies have joined several industries like hospitality, transportation, financing and more to compete with incumbent companies while leveraging the access to goods and services and concomitantly benefit rather than ownership. In this way, they have influenced existing companies, who are adapting to the trend. Its success is observable, though it is seen as a trend, which still needs to demonstrate that it can become the status quo.

1.1 Research Question

Several developments have triggered transitions in consumption patterns, whereas the internet and mobile devices are just some of the latest ones. Similarly, the concept behind Collaborative Consumption has influenced consumption. While standing in contract with conventional consumption, it received lots of media attention in the last years and is gaining more and more relevance. Due to its influence on many areas, the question arises, if this approach has the ability to sustainably transition consumer habits and replace the existing consumption-driven mindset. In this context, it is important to gain an understanding of the concept and functioning which should be followed by its current positioning in the economy. This information is essential to assess any potential for future growth. Furthermore, detection of the motives for the usage is necessary, as it will explain its success but also give insights on strengths and possibilities. Information about the emergence of Collaborative Consumption and which factors have contributed to its development are part of the closer examination. Moreover, an expected continuation of the usage, as an indicator of personal satisfaction, can display a potential growth hereafter, particularly concerning the different socio-demographic categorizations. Insights on the characteristics of its users will indicate the group, who is more likely to tap into this field. In this sense, building on the basic foundation, further analysis of the state of familiarity and usage as well as reasons for the same and future expectation will facilitate to give an outlook on the development and potential implications for consumption.

1.2 Objective

In accordance with the research question, the objective of this paper is to establish a theoretical groundwork in order to understand the concept behind Collaborative Consumption, which will be followed by an empirical study with the aim to gain insights on the impact of the same on consumer habits. Defining the phenomenon and its main characteristics, followed by an outline of the current situation and relevant markets is essential in order to understand the concept behind. Additionally, drivers and motivational factors will be investigated, which form a substantial part for the final discussion. Furthermore, a field study will be conducted, with the aim to collect data about consumption patterns and personal assessments regarding the approach. Moreover, the field study will concentrate on personal characteristics and beliefs. Consequently, data analysis will follow, aiming to give insights on the current state of Collaborative Consumption in terms of its adoption, particularly distinguishing between different industries, to understand the preferences of consumers. This information will eventually be put into relation with the above-mentioned consumption patterns and attitudes in order to be able to make statements about the consumer groups, their motivation and the strengths and weaknesses of the approach. Socio-demographic information will support to determine features of the consumer group and assist to underpin the statements about motives and inducements. Conclusively, the aim is to establish a connection between the findings of the theoretical part and the results of the quantitative analysis to make a final assessment of the topic, ultimately relating to the impact of Collaborative Consumption on consumer habits.

1.3 Methodological Procedure

In accordance with the research question and the objective of this paper, a literature review will be conducted, with the aim to provide a theoretical foundation for the subsequent analysis. This is followed by an empirical study in the form of quantitative research. In this context, an online survey will be conducted in order to collect primary data to fulfill the objective as explained above. The study will be accomplished cross-sectionally at one point in time, due to the prevailing conditions of this paper. For the purpose of achieving a convincing sample size and consequently to be able to make considerable statements, the snowball sampling method has been chosen. Thus, the survey will be distributed among fellow students and colleagues as well as social networks, requesting to further spread it. Following, after data preparation has been completed, the research will continue with data analysis. Besides examining absolute attributes, diverse queries will be put into relation, observing the influence of variables. Eventually, the outcome of the literature review will be compared to the results of the data analysis in order to have a profound base that allows to make a judgment on the research question and give an outlook for future research in this field.

2 Collaborative Consumption

This chapter aims to provide a theoretical groundwork regarding the most important aspects of Collaborative Consumption, starting with the definition and the role of the platform, which is followed by a general overview comprising the relevant markets and types of Collaborative Consumption. Finally, this chapter will close with driving forces and motives of use, which will emphasize the reasons for the uptrend of Collaborative Consumption activities.

2.1 Definition

Collaborative Consumption, as an umbrella concept for commercial or non-profit, platform-based exchange of underutilized goods or services between a variety of participants is not the only term used for this type of activity. Amongst others, the sharing economy4, access-based consumption5, crowd-based capitalism6, and the mesh7 are the most known alternatives, commonly used in a synonymous way.8 Still, there are exceptions, as few scientists criticize some of the denotations. For example, some disagreement is existing on the term sharing economy, due to the opinion that sharing is a way of social exchange, taking place between people known to each other and neglecting any kind of profit orientation.9 However, the core understanding of these approaches overlaps to a great extent. For the aim of consistency, these conceptions will be considered under the name Collaborative Consumption.

The term Collaborative Consumption was coined by Felson and Spaeth for the first time, who define it as “those events in which one or more persons consume economic goods or services in the process of engaging in joint activities with one or more others.”10 As an early adoption of this approach, its understanding is different than what is today associated with Collaborative Consumption. Felson and Spaeth focus on the consumption aspect in an offline world without intermediaries. They refer to common joint activities like having a drink or meal with relatives and friends or sharing household appliances within the family.11 As said, today Collaborative Consumption is perceived differently. Several definitions exist nowadays, each emphasizing different aspects. While there are more generic definitions, like Lessig stating that “collaborative consumption [is] made by the activities of sharing, exchanging, and rental of resources without owning the goods”12, Hamari et al. define it as “peer-to-peer-based activity of obtaining, giving, or sharing the access to goods and services, coordinated through community-based online services.”13 As a difference to the first two, this definition highlights the technological aspect, which is one of the most decisive developments in the last years. Botsman and Rogers describe Collaborative Consumption as “traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting and swapping, redefined through technology and peer communities.”14 Not only does the latter definition use a more detailed description, but it is also indicating to another form of Collaborative Consumption, which should not be neglected. While many definitions disregard commercial secondhand trading, this one emphasizes it.15 In general, a distinction between access over ownership and transfer of ownership takes place. While the first one implies that access to goods or services is granted for a limited period of time, for example through renting, lending, and borrowing, the second one, conducted through swap, donation, or purchase of goods, indicates a change of the owner. This also comprises secondhand trading.16 However, not every aspect is covered within this definition, as especially the peer-to-peer (P2P) relationship is emphasized when talking about Collaborative Consumption. In fact, P2P is not the only way it can take place, as business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions frequently take place, too.17 And still, although not the usual case, consumers can even act as providers to businesses. Considering this factor, following definition is chosen to outline the full picture: ”The expression sharing economy can be defined as a commonly used indication for a wide range of digital commercial or non-profit platforms facilitating exchanges amongst a variety of players through a variety of interaction modalities (P2P, P2B, B2P, B2B, G2G) that all broadly enable consumption or productive activities leveraging capital assets (money, real estate property, equipment, cars, etc.) goods, skills, or just time.”18 Although Collaborative Consumption as well comprises existing forms of offline exchange, this study will concentrate on the newly evolved, digital sharing activities as per the definition above.

2.2 Role of the platform

As it becomes clear above, sharing is not a new development. There are several advantages of sharing, whether it is for the aim of reducing costs, releasing space, or saving the environment. Still, the industrial revolution has been characterized by ownership. The main reason for people preferring ownership over access is that transaction costs, meaning the “expenses, including time, inconvenience, and actual payments required to obtain and use the item”19, were high. While people were living in communities, transaction costs were low, as social environments were closely connected. Nowadays, members of society are detached from each other, which results in an increase in transaction costs, whenever people seek special support from other people. This gap was mainly filled by companies and organizations in the last centuries.20 However, new technologies have lowered transaction costs. This has enabled new business models to arise and led to a surge in the utilization of Collaborative Consumption patterns. These new business models mainly leverage digital platforms, which collect and pool supply and demand information to establish the framework for sharing activities. As a facilitator, the platform is placed between provider and obtainer. The provider is called the consumer who offers to provide either a material good or a service through the platform. On the other hand, the obtainer is the consumer who accesses the goods or services offered by the provider.21 The below figure shows the usual process in a P2P transaction via such a sharing platform. In this relationship, the platform provides access to the market to both. While the provider submits an offer to the platform, the obtainer submits a request. Once a request finds a matching offer, the platform connects the provider with the obtainer for the exchange activity. If a transaction takes place, the obtainer will pay a renting and service fee to the platform, which will keep the service fee and forward the renting fee to the provider. Eventually, the obtainer has the possibility to leave feedback about his experience with the provider.22

Figure 1 : The intermediary platform

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Modelled after [Access 26-12-2019, 20:40 CET]

The main function of the platform is to reduce transaction costs, which can have three forms. The first one, triangulation, is described as the information about identity and location, followed by the agreement on terms and conditions. Secondly, there are costs of transfer, which denote the transfer of payment but also the transfer of information necessary for the transaction. Finally, the building of trust is another form of transaction cost, as uncertainty about the quality of products or services and distrust in the provider as well as in the obtainer can exist. As these transaction costs require an investment of time, negotiation, and effort, they can prevent sharing activities. Platforms serve to reduce these, which will be visualized on the example of ride-sharing. Triangulation costs are reduced by mobile applications on smartphones, which provide information about location via GPS. In addition, users provide information about their destination, so the platform can match corresponding entries and connect potential drivers and passengers. Transfer costs are reduced, too, as mobile applications provide necessary data, deposited on user profiles, and payment services, which ensure safe transactions. Eventually, the costs of building trust are reduced by the platform in crowdsourcing trust, as it provides frameworks, like rating systems and possibilities to submit experiences and reviews. In this way, users give reference to others, which builds a strong reputation system.23 Besides, the platform helps to achieve critical mass, which is needed to make the system self-sustaining. Critical mass is vital for the approach to function, due to reasons like a wide range of selection, as well as profitability. None of the different models explained in the next chapter would be as successful if the critical mass of users could not have been reached. While this applies to redistribution of clothes or daily items, it follows the same principle for music streaming and bikes sharing services.24 In general, the platform lowers the hurdles for sharing and provides a structured framework. Finally, the platform plays a fundamental role, as it is not only facilitating Collaborative Consumption but making it profitable and therefore smoothing the ways for companies to come up with new business models.

2.3 Relevant Markets

Though what first comes to mind when talking about Collaborative Consumption is car-sharing and home rentals, it is not limited to these. Many companies are engaging in various industries and new concepts come up day by day. This chapter serves to give an overview of the main markets Collaborative Consumption is involved in. As its definition does not limit its scope, a wide range of business models acting in different markets can be taken into account. This chapter will focus on selected major industries hospitality, mobility, media and entertainment, financing and services.

The hospitality sector is one of the core industries and is covering accommodation and travel services. The business model in this market is mainly built on platforms linking the obtainer, who searches for a place to stay, with the provider, who offers his flat, holiday apartment, or just a room or bed for rent. As this mainly comprises short-term accommodation, these companies are perceived as competitors to traditional hotels. In addition to the matching service, the platforms provide safety measures to prevent misuse and fraud. There are several mechanisms like verification of the user and his address, personal information to get to know the user, and rating systems, which provide a reference to other users about each host or guest. In this way, hospitality platforms facilitate the trust-building-process between strangers intending to remove potential concerns. Best known actors in this market are Airbnb and Couchsurfing, but there are several more, like Onefinestay, which is a mediator focusing on the upscale market. While most platforms charge a commission for their services, Couchsurfing, for instance, is completely free of charge as they do not pursue a financial benefit from the service but aim to build a community in connecting people with similar interests.25 According to the platforms’ website, Couchsurfing counts 12 million members in its community, which live in more than 200.000 cities. Airbnb, on the other hand, counts the cities with active listings, which amount to more than 100.000 in more than 220 countries and regions. Listings worldwide have exceeded 7 million, with the total number of all-time guests amounting to 500 million. Considering the fact that Couchsurfing has launched in 2004 and Airbnb in 2008 underlines the impact they have had on the hospitality industry.26

The second market which Collaborative Consumption entered is the mobility market, which in contrast to the hospitality market, is more diverse and involves car rental and ride-sharing as well as bike, e-bike, and e-scooter sharing. While car rental has been existing already, with companies like SIXT, Enterprise or Avis, the innovative difference of collaborative car sharing is that it reduces the administrative work and removes the need to pick up the vehicle at the branch and drop it off at the same place in using technological innovations like the internet, mobile applications, and GPS.27 The handling takes place via mobile phone and the respective app, which will unlock the car, allow the obtainer to drive it and withdraw the fee from his bank account. Additionally, these platforms implement safety measures, which comprise penalty systems, monitoring of vehicle usage, and the building of a brand community, which constitutes a normative control system.28 Major players are Zipcar, which is predominantly serving the North-American market,29 and Share Now, a joint venture between the Daimler AG and the BMW Group.30 On the other side, companies can appear as intermediary platforms, which are not renting out themselves but facilitating P2P rentals. Examples for private car-sharing in Europe are Drivy and Snappcar. Similar to the accommodation platforms, they match seekers with suppliers of a private car, establish the framework to build trust and avoid fraud, and take care of the money transfer.31

Another well-known company, Uber, does not take part in this segment of the market. Uber and other participants like Lyft or BlaBlaCar are ride-sharing companies, which offer passenger transportation services for drivers with unoccupied seats and people looking for transportation. While Uber and Lyft are mainly compared to taxis and compete with them, BlaBlaCar positions itself as a carpooling platform, which aims to give travelers with empty seats the possibility to find people heading in the same direction. In doing so, the costs can be shared, and additionally, environmental impact can be reduced.32 On the other hand, Uber and Lyft emphasize the possibility for drivers to earn extra money in utilizing their vehicles and free time for offering a transportation service.33 This kind of ride-sharing is even classified as ride-hailing, which underlines the association with taxis and professional transportation services.34 Due to automobiles being assets that sit idle for the major part of the day, this way of improving productivity has influenced the transportation market and has shown considerable growth within the last years.35 According to own statements, Uber alone has enabled 10 billion trips worldwide and is available in more than 700 cities across 63 countries. Besides, Uber states that the company completes 14 million trips each day, which underlines the rapid growth, since its launch in 2009.36

Finally, bike, e-bike, and e-scooter-sharing form another subcategory of the mobility market for Collaborative Consumption and can be summarized under the term micro-mobility, which is particularly promoted in big cities and urban areas. It is one of the most promising industries and has gathered billions of investments, for some investors even more attractive than car-sharing.37 Similar to B2C car rentals, companies like Tier or Lime offer e-scooters and Nextbike is one of the biggest platforms for bike-sharing in Europe.38 In principle, each form of micro-mobility is based on the same concept, with the only difference being the vehicle shared. The example of bike-sharing will be used to outline the concept. As technology was not advanced enough to support tracking and safety measures, early attempts to establish a bike-sharing concept were not successful. In the last years, existing problems have been solved with technological improvements like mobile phones and applications, automatic locking systems, and GPS tracking. Nowadays bikes can be picked up at and returned to designated docking stations, as well as shared in a dockless system. In both ways, the obtainer can locate the nearest bike via an app, unlock it by completing the rental process, and take a trip until he wants to return it.39 Eventually, micro-mobility has the potential to reduce the number of short car trips, which are not only harmful to the environment but also increase city traffic and complicate the parking situation in urban areas. Still, many obstacles exist due to insufficient infrastructure and a lack of regulation, but if an agreement between providers and public authorities can be established, micro-mobility has the potential to be an integral part of urban transportation in the future.40

Media and entertainment is the third market Collaborative Consumption has entered. In this market, video and film, music, and gaming are especially relevant when it comes to the high potential for the future, whereby Netflix for video-streaming and Spotify for music-streaming are the ones that first come to mind. There are several more companies, like Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Disney+ for video-streaming and again Apple with Apple Music, Amazon with Amazon Music Unlimited, and Deezer, for music-streaming. In the gaming sector, Collaborative Consumption is still in an early stage, as it recently has started with Google Stadia and is expected to be followed by other players like Microsoft and Sony. In the same way, as streaming changed the music and film industry, it is expected to have an impact on the gaming industry.41 In general, Collaborative Consumption services in the media and entertainment segment are based on the principle access-over-ownership and earmark a subscription model which enables the obtainer to stream films, series, videos, music and games via the internet. This concept does not only compete with traditional film or game rental companies but also removes the need to purchase CDs or download single albums, films, or games. Instead, a subscription provides access to a multitude of media. The advantages that accompany this service are convenience, resulting from the possibility to access media instantly, and the cost savings. For a monthly subscription fee, the obtainer can access a broad range of media, which in comparison to purchasing each album or film separately, can be a significant cost advantage. Another benefit, though it is not the main reason for users, is the environmental friendliness. The production of CDs for films, music and games, plastic cases, and other physical features can be avoided by utilizing streaming services, which ultimately has a positive impact on sustainability.42 Additionally, user-generated content, leveraging streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch, or social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok forms another stream, which can be included in this market. This future form of collaborative content-creation is forecasted to have an increased impact on the media and entertainment market as well.43

Financing is another industry Collaborative Consumption has joined, bringing an innovative approach, called crowdsourcing, to the market. As the name implies crowdsourcing, or also called crowdfunding, enables raising funds from the crowd. This works in pooling small-sized funds from a multitude of lenders through a platform, which can function as a facilitator for crowdsourcing funds. Kickstarter is a known example in this field. The platform offers a framework allowing the obtainer to present his venture or business idea to the crowd, which can, in turn, decide to fund the project. The project will only be considered successful, and the project owner will only get the funding if the project reaches a specified amount of total funding. In turn, the provider does not receive back his funding, but most of the time either receives a gift, an exemplar of the product the company will produce, or any other kind of reward. Funding a project via Kickstarter needs to be considered as a contribution, not a participation in equity.44 The alternative to the approach of Kickstarter is known under the name micro-lending and is comparable to financial institutions. Platforms like Kiva or Circle Funding similarly mediate between people requesting a loan and people that want to invest in specific projects. The difference is that these companies include repayment of the loan. While Kiva is an example for a non-for-profit organization aiming to facilitate the loan process, Circle Funding, for instance, is a for-profit intermediary, which is operating with interest on loans. These kinds of loans are particularly targeting small and medium-sized businesses, individuals or communities and therefore tap into a market that is not the main target of financial institutions. In addition, these platforms connect their users and inform about personal stories and motivation, which is an added value in comparison to traditional financial institutes.45

The final market which this paper takes a deeper look at is the services market. Services in line with the Collaborative Consumption approach are defined as sharing of free time, skills, experiences, and knowledge, either for free or in return for monetary compensation, for goods or another service. Transactions mainly take place between peers in this market. Examples are Trade Schools, which offer knowledge sharing in return for other knowledge, or goods. Usually, a monetary return is not applied. Another example is platforms matching people with similar interests, like babysitting. The same concept exists for people looking for someone who can provide gardening expertise or technical services. Platforms like TaskRabbit can be utilized for any kind of task or project which needs to be done, as they match obtainers with people offering to provide a service. Any kind of knowledge or skill can be found through these platforms, on the one side enabling a flexible and cost-attractive utilization for the obtainer, and on the other side allowing the provider to offer his skills in exchange for his needs. Nevertheless, it needs to be considered that the service industry is primarily operating on a local level, within communities, due to geographical limitations.

As mentioned, the presented markets depict the most relevant ones, whereas Collaborative Consumption is not limited to these. Consumer goods, daily items, as well as space, be it working space, storage space, or parking space, are also under-utilized assets, which are shared frequently.46 Nevertheless, the relevant markets summarized above give an overview of the entrance of a new approach into important industries and display the influence it has on existing, partly incumbent companies. This is emphasized by the fact that major players follow the trend and either invest in these start-ups or enter the market themselves. Best examples are Mercedes and BMW, who combine forces with their new car-sharing service, Apple and Amazon joining the film and music streaming market, and Google entering the gaming industry.

2.4 Types of Collaborative Consumption

Following the summary of relevant markets above, it becomes clear that various business models are deployed in the context of Collaborative Consumption, which makes it necessary to distinguish between different types. Although several ways of categorization exist, especially one approach has been widely accepted, which is called Collaborative Consumption Systems.47

Product Service Systems (PSS) are one of these three systems, which are described as shared services between multiple people, leveraging the benefit of products rather than the ownership. Classical examples for PSS are Netflix and Spotify, but also companies that changed their original business model like Steelcase. Rather than owning assets, this concept is based on a shift to a usage mind-set, which is exemplarily expressed as follows: “We don’t want the CD; we want the music it plays. We don’t want the disc; we want the storage it holds.”48 This shift from ownership to access is described as the fundamental idea of PSS. These services, on the one hand, can be provided by companies to individual users, on the other hand, they can be provided by private owners to peers. Two models of PSS are defined – usage PSS and extended-life PSS. While usage PSS describe the common way of renting a product, i.e. a product is being provided by a company or an individual owner to several obtainers who collectively make use of it to fulfill their needs, extended-life PSS describes a form of after-sales service, which aims to reduce the demand for replacing or disposing of goods in offering maintenance, repair or an upgrade of the product. As the name shows, this system aims to extend the lifecycle of these products. Steelcase, as an example of an extended-life PSS, is offering product-service solutions rather than selling products only. On the other hand, Netflix is exemplary for usage PSS, due to it being a platform providing users access to a multitude of visual media.49

The second Collaborative Consumption System is called Redistribution Markets, which eBay, as a well-known example, belongs to. The main idea behind Redistribution Markets is to enable the exchange of used goods and relocate them to where there is a need. This exchange can happen either free of charge or against some kind of return, whereby the form of return can vary. Usually, this return will be in the form of cash, but also alternative forms of return exist, like points that can be reused in the platform for other exchanges. Finally, used or pre-owned goods can be bartered for similar goods or goods with similar value. In contrast to the traditional way of bartering or exchanging used goods, these transactions mostly take place between strangers. The platform matches people that want to dispose of used stuff, with people that are searching for the same, at minimum transaction costs. As an outcome, this concept has a positive impact on sustainability, as products are exchanged and reused, which maximizes the utilization and prolongs the lifecycle. Consequently, the demand for new products drops, which results in a decline in the production of waste and other environmentally harmful substances. In addition, Redistribution Markets promote sustainable utilization of products and emerge as contrary to the throw-away society, which saves resources. Community building is described as another consequence of redistribution. People that give away or barter unused assets establish a network in which everybody contributes to society. These communities are characterized by reciprocity, which is based on an implicit understanding that people who give away something today, can request something in the future.50

The third and final system is called Collaborative Lifestyles, which is described as the sharing of various intangible assets. These intangible goods can be time, skills, or space, such as working spaces, which can be offered by people in form of services like gardening, travel, as in the example of Couchsurfing, or financial services like P2P lending or crowdfunding. The underlying idea of Collaborative Lifestyles is that these assets are often underutilized and could be shared or used for exchange with other stuff people may need or want. As it is with the other systems, Collaborative Lifestyles is not an innovation but re-emphasizes the community aspect of sharing assets, knowledge, and skills between peers. An example of such a platform is WeCommune, which allows users to post their needs, search for people with similar interests and build groups for special activities, with the essential goal to build a stronger community. In contrast to WeCommune, which is acting on a local level, Couchsurfing is another platform that, on a global level, highlights the feeling of belongingness. In the ground idea, these platforms emphasize community-related values like openness and collaboration and emerge as the counterpart to hyper-consumption and individualism. The appeal is to turn away from identification through ownership to a joint lifestyle, characterized by sharing and collaboration.51

2.5 Driving Forces

As mentioned above, the emergence of platforms has contributed to a decrease in transaction costs. Still, besides the platform, there are additional driving forces, which have supported this development. These drivers can be of technological nature, as well as economic or social.

Between these different groups of drivers, technological progress is especially emphasized. As the development of bike-sharing demonstrates, the concept of Collaborative Consumption and the evolvement of new business models based on this, heavily relied on necessary improvements. While the rise of the internet has laid the foundations for today’s sharing economy, further advancements like the surge of the Web 2.0 and accompanying social media systems as well as collaborative web communities have played a substantial role.52 Synchronously, the increase of hardware power in combination with the advancement of programmability and extendable software, which is associated with the emergence of smartphones and mobile applications, has not only lowered the cost of participation in the internet but also intensified the usage of above-mentioned web communities.53 Furthermore, the establishment of cashless payment systems, as well as the rise of customer review sites have been enabled, which are fundamental pieces of sharing platforms.54 As a result, these developments have led to a decentralization of P2P exchange, which has started with the exchange of information, like in the example of review sites or Wikipedia, and content on social media, to be followed by the exchange of goods and services in the form of renting, redistributing and sharing.55 Similar to search engines like Google adding to sort and process information data, sharing platforms realize an efficient match-making flow by removing frictions in the process of identification, verification, synchronization, and transaction.56

Further to the technological advancement enabling this progress, macro-economic developments have pushed forward the trend. It becomes visible that the rise of the sharing economy has accelerated after the global recession in 2009. Particularly two reasons are highlighted on that note. First, the economic situation has led to underemployment and uncertainties, which have resulted in a change in consumer habits. While people did not only question future investments for the acquisition of property, they also reconsidered their existing possession and the corresponding ownership costs, like maintenance and repair. This reconsideration has promoted the idea of alternative consumption methods like Collaborative Consumption.57 On the other hand, the global recession has resulted in plummeting interest rates. As a result, individuals have seen the opportunity to lend money to acquire assets, which can, in turn, be utilized to participate in the sharing economy as a provider and generate additional income.58

In addition to technological improvements and macroeconomic trends which have further boosted this development, social aspects form the final part of driving forces. Especially an increasing consumer awareness in terms of sustainability and cost sensibility in line with the emergence of social commerce and sharing, in general, have contributed to the attractiveness of usage over ownership.59 While possession has been a symbol of prosperity, societal understanding has changed, particularly in urban areas. As a consequence of the ongoing urbanization and corresponding circumstances like restrictions in the area of space, be it parking space or storage space, but also transportation and mobility, a transition of the way human design their living takes place.60


1 Teubner, T., peer-to-peer markets, 2014, p. 1.

2 See Belk, R., sharing, 2010, p. 715 et seqq.

3 See Botsman R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 69.

4 See Codagnone, C., Biagi, F., Abadie, F., sharing economy, 2016, p. 22.

5 See Bardhi, F., Eckhardt G. M., access-based consumption, 2012, p. 881.

6 See Sundararajan, A., crowd-based capitalism, 2016, p. 38.

7 See Gansky, L., the mesh, 2010, p. 5.

8 See Todenhöfer, Lydia Eva-Maria, sharing systems, 2019, p. 17.

9 See Bardhi, F., Eckhardt, G. M., sharing as a social exchange, 2015, no page number.

10 Felson, M., Spaeth, J. L., community structure, 1978, p. 614.

11 See Felson, M., Spaeth, J. L., community structure, 1978, p. 614.

12 Lessig, L., hybrid economy, 2008, p. 143 et seqq.

13 Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., Ukkonen, A., participation in collaborative consumption, 2015, p. 2047.

14 Botsman, R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. xv.

15 See Botsman, R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 72 et seq.

16 See Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., Ukkonen, A., participation in collaborative consumption, 2015, p. 2049.

17 See Lukesch, M., logistics, 2019, p. 5.

18 Codagnone, C., Biagi, F., Abadie, F., sharing economy, 2016, p. 22.

19 Munger, M. C., transaction costs, 2018, p. 51.

20 See Sundararajan, A., crowd-based capitalism, 2016, p. 69 et seqq.

21 See Ertz, M., Durif, F., Arcand, M., collaboration, 2016, p. 3 et seq.

22 See Kabisreiter, C., consumer preferences, 2017, p. 5 et seqq.

23 See Munger, M.C., transaction costs, 2018, p. 50 et seqq.

24 See Botsman R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 75 et seqq.

25 See Botsman R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 177 et seqq.; Sundararajan, A., crowd-based capitalism, 2016, p. 38 et seqq.

26 See, Accessed on 05/02/2020;, Accessed on 05/02/2020.

27 See Botsman R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 100 et seq.; Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., Ukkonen, A., participation in collaborative consumption, 2015, p. 2049.

28 See Bardhi, F., Eckhardt G.M., access-based consumption, 2012, p. 886.

29 See, Accessed on 05/02/2020.

30 See, Accessed on 05/02/2020.

31 See Müller, C., private car-sharing, 2019, no page number.

32 See Cruz, I., Ganga, R., Wahlen, S., contemporary collaborative consumption, 2018, p. 77 et seqq.

33 See Sundararajan, A., crowd-based capitalism, 2016, p. 9 et seqq.

34 See Frenken, K., Schor, J., ride-hailing, 2017, p. 5.

35 See Hu, M., impact of the sharing economy, 2019, p. 61 et seqq.

36 See, Accessed on 27/01/2020;, Accessed on 27/01/2020.

37 See Heineke, K. et al., micro-mobility, 2019, no page number.

38 See Andrea, R., bike sharing, 2019, no page number.

39 See Hu, M., impact of the sharing economy, 2019, p. 410 et seqq.

40 See Tonar, R., Talton, E., potential of micro-mobility solutions, 2020, no page number.

41 See Holzki, L., Möthe, A., Scheuer, S., cloud-gaming, 2019, no page number; Bradshaw, T., Waters, R., Google Stadia, 2019, no page number.

42 See Botsman R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 101 et seqq.

43 See Granados, N., entertainment industry, 2018, no page number.

44 See Hu, M., impact of the sharing economy, 2019, p. 320.

45 See Sundararajan, A., crowd-based capitalism, 2016, p. 41 et seqq.

46 See Lukesch, M., logistics, 2019, p. 3.

47 See Botsman, R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 71 et seqq.

48 Botsman, R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 98.

49 See Botsman, R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 95 et seqq.

50 See Botsman, R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, p. 123 et seqq.

51 See Botsman, R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, p. 151 et seqq.

52 See Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., Ukkonen, A., participation in collaborative consumption, 2015, p. 2047 et seq.; Matzler, K., Veider, V., Kathan, W., social media systems, 2014, p. 73.

53 See Sundararajan, A., crowd-based capitalism, 2016, p. 54 et seqq.; Lukesch, M., logistics, 2019, p. 6.

54 See Ravenelle, A., J., entrepreneurialism, 2017, p. 284.

55 See Botsman, R., Rogers, R., collaborative consumption, 2011, p. 68 et seqq.

56 See Sundararajan, A., crowd-based capitalism, 2016, p. 94 et seqq.; Narasimhan et al., peer-to-peer trade, 2017, p. 95.

57 See Ravenelle, A., J., entrepreneurialism, 2017, p. 284.

58 See Narasimhan et al., peer-to-peer trade, 2017, p. 95.

59 See Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., Ukkonen, A., participation in collaborative consumption, 2015, p. 2047; Puschmann, T., Alt, R., drivers and potentials, 2016, p. 93.

60 See Tonar, R., Talton, E., potential of micro-mobility solutions, 2020, no page number; Lukesch, M., logistics, 2019, p. 6; Sundararajan, A., crowd-based capitalism, 2016, p. 65 et seqq.

Excerpt out of 85 pages


Analysis of the Impact of Collaborative Consumption on Consumer Habits
FOM Duisburg
Catalog Number
Collaborative Consumption, Sharing Economy, peer-to-peer platforms
Quote paper
Tarkan Seyhan (Author), 2020, Analysis of the Impact of Collaborative Consumption on Consumer Habits, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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