Welcome to the age of sharing. Thanks to easy-to-use online markets like Airbnb and Uber, consumers are increasingly choosing to share goods and services with each other than buy from big brands. According to Fast Company, the so-called collaborative economy represents a $110 billion market. Now, for the first time, comes a report that helps marketers understand just who is doing the making and sharing of goods and services, and why they’re collaborating instead of buying. Sharing Is the New Buying, co-produced by Crowd Companies and VisionCritical, discusses the results of a survey of 90,112 people in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The report shatters a stereotype that participants in the collaborative economy consist of starving hipsters in Brooklyn or technology nerds in Silicon Valley. In fact, sharing has become mainstream. And brands that want to succeed in the sharing economy must tell stories around value and trust.
“Contrary to the image of sharers as tech-savvy urban hipsters, sharers are very much like the population as a whole: in other words, a lot like your customers,” write authors Jeremiah Owyang, Alexandra Samuel, and Andrew Grenville. “Sharers are part of the mainstream set of customers that businesses cannot ignore.”
Sharing Is the New Buying is an important read for any marketer who wishes to tap into the zeitgeist of the collaborative economy. After all, publications ranging from Forbes to The Guardian cite the sharing economy as an important trend affecting how business is conducted in 2014. So it’s no surprise that big brands such as Patagonia and BMW have been learning how to tap into sharing behaviors by offering ways to share goods instead of buying them outright. Sharing Is the New Buying offers a snapshot into who exactly is doing the sharing. Some key findings:
- Sharers are mainstream, making up 40 percent of the general population, meaning 80 million Americans, 23 million Britons, and 10 million Canadians. People who rent and share from each other cut across a broad spectrum of demographics, with women comprising 55 percent of the sharing population.
- Sharers are affluent: more than 27 percent of “neo-sharers” (users of emergent sharing services like Uber) have incomes between $50K-$100K, just like the overall population.
- Sharers are young: about half of active participants in the sharing economy are between 18 and 34 years old.
- Sharers are practical: most people share because of convenience and cost savings, as well as the desire for quality goods and services.
Savvy start-ups have already tapped into the wants and needs of sharing consumers, as have established brands. Airbnb has quickly challenged the hegemony of the larger hotel chains by making it possible for everyday people to Continue reading