Technology And Consumerism Essay

1090 words - 5 pages

What is the next step for consumers after they buy more stuff than they’ll ever need or use? They start to share stuff and swap stuff, if not throwing stuff away. Since the boom of information technology such as smart phones and computers, a new business model has emerged and enabled by social communications. From the mid-2000s, there is a growth of the so-called collaborative consumerism, a notion that consumers somehow can share or swap anything from clothes to cars to parking spaces. This business trend has rampant with an increasing over-consumption and over-indulging by consumers. The recent changes in our economic landscape have only exposed and intensified a phenomenon, an ...view middle of the document...

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There are different types of collaborative consumerism. The Product service system allows users paying for the benefit of using a product without needing to own the product outright, through sharing or rented peer-to-peer. People are using platforms such as Neighborgoods or Snapgoods for these transactions. Product owners realize they can make money from renting out their assets peer-to-peer and renters are experiencing the benefits of not needing to own. The Redistribution system is based on used or pre-owned goods being passed on from someone who does not want them to someone who does want them. This is also called the “reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair” system; which is a method is dealing with waste. In some markets, the goods can be redistributed as free goods, or swapping, or sold for cash as on eBay or Craigslist. These emerging sectors allow consumers to fulfill a temporary need such as baby goods, books and DVDs. The other system is called Collaborative lifestyle system, based on people with similar needs or interests banding together to share and exchange less-tangible assets such as time, space, and skills. There are examples like car sharing where users think twice about whether they need to drive and thereby reduce their miles travelled by an approximated 45%.
On the flipside, there are downsides to collaborating consumption. The behavior can become addictive with the swap trading; where people suddenly realize they are surrounded by assets they can swap to get what they want versus buy new stuff. The issue of privacy is also a problem as advertisers able to track the product preferences of consumers. Both the Federal Trade Commission and ad trade groups are concerned about behavioral advertising excesses. The ad trade groups provide a program that will allow consumers control over the collection and use of product data for targeting ads. But it is only a matter of time before we’ll be able to perform a Google-like search to see a complete picture of how people behave base on the products they swap or money they lend or cars they share.
There are clear signals that collaborative consumerism will stay around for the next few year. The ubiquity and affordable smart phones and increase in...

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