NEW YORK: Consumers around the world are getting rid of their unwanted possessions and sharing or renting out those they chose to keep a new survey has said.

A Prosumer Report from marketing and communications agency Havas Worldwide – The New Consumer and the Sharing Economy – found that 70% of the 10,574 people surveyed around the globe said that overconsumption was putting the planet and society at risk.

Half of respondents said they could happily live without most of the items they own, while two-thirds made a point of once a year getting rid of items that cluttered up their homes but were rarely, if ever, used.

The increasingly scepticism about current economic models lay uneasily alongside a continuing belief that high levels of consumption remained essential to economic growth. Consumers were choosing to resolve this tension, said Havas, by "replacing guilt with purpose". They were buying products that were more durable and sustainable and were placing less emphasis on ownership.

Sixty-five percent agreed with the statement: "Our society would be better off if people shared more and owned less." Community and collaboration were emerging as a new economic model, particularly among younger age groups, where more than one third of Millennials were already members of a sharing service or expected to join one within the next year.

Big ticket items like cars featured prominently in this regard. The report said that More than one third of people expected city dwellers would share rather than own a car by 2050.

But brands were not being cut out of the loop. There was good news for marketers, as three-quarters of respondents said they would like to see brands act as guarantors of the products individuals sold online.

"The data point to all sorts of ways in which brands can get involved in these new consumption models," stated Andrew Benett, global CEO of Havas Worldwide. In addition to a guarantor role, they could become beacons of trust, motivators of 'good' behaviour, and builders of community and connections.

Consumers were creating new formats for the exchange of goods, he said. "And every step of the way, they are practising 'less is more,' and savouring their 'less.'"

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff