The advent of new technologies has given rise to a real revolution. Society is shifting away from a vertical model (from manufacturer to consumer) towards more horizontal consumer patterns based on sharing and swapping between private individuals: collaborative consumption whereby owning goods is not as important as being able to use it. The idea that it can be used by multiple users is at the heart of this revolution.
In this functionality-oriented economy, the use of goods and especially of services is shared, either for free or in return for payment. Key assets in the conventional model such as houses or cars are now less and less subject to exclusive ownership, as they are being rented out to multiple users or swapped on a long-or short-term basis via dedicated platforms. The most successful examples of this type of collaborative consumption, to date, are Airbnb, Carpoolworld and Blablacar.
Besides its social advantages (sharing with those in need) and financial benefits for private individuals, collaborative consumption also helps address environmental concerns. Four passengers in a single car have a much smaller carbon footprint than they would if they were each driving their own vehicle. And consuming in a collaborative way contributes to sustainable development by giving certain items a second life via secondhand sale outlets like eBay, Back Market, etc.