Lowdown: Collaborative consumption

Nadya Powell

Sometimes things move quickly from being a buzzword to a revolution and such is the case with collaborative consumption. Coined in 2010 by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers in their book What's Mine Is Yours, by 2013, it has been on the front cover of The Economist and lauded by Time Magazine as one of 10 ideas that will change the world.

So what is it? If you have holidayed through Airbnb or rented a Zipcar, you've partaken of collaborative consumption. It is defined by www.collaborativeconsumption.com as: "The reinvention of traditional market behaviour, renting, lending, swapping, bartering, gifting and sharing products, on a scale never before possible… for a more fulfilling and sustainable quality of life." Simply put, collaborative consumption is people sharing their spare space/vehicle/time/skill, peer to peer, e.g. renting out their spare room on Airbnb or their skill on TaskRabbit.