Sharing Economy


A sharing economy (a.k.a. collaborative consumption or access-based consumption) involves taking under-utilized, existing assets and making them accessible to a community where multiple individuals have access. This leads to reduced need for ownership, with users coordinating the acquisition and distribution of resources for a fee or other compensation. 

Examples include Zipcar for vehicles, Makerspace for tools, VRBO & Airbnb for real estate, and book-swapping clubs.

The “sharing economy” has roots back to at least the 1800s when signs in residential windows read “Room(s) to let,” and earlier still with “libraries in antiquity.” It has come into popularity again with the advent of online, technology-driven sharing applications.


  1. Based on:  Belk, Russell (2014), You are what you can access: sharing and collaborative consumption online, Journal of Business Research, 67 No. 8, Aug.), 1595-1600.
  2. Modified by Common Language in Marketing Project, 2020.
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