STORES Magazine - August 2014 - (Page 41)

I COMMUNITY WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER The 'sharing economy' presents new opportunities for retailers by FIONA SOLTES F or those who believe the new "sharing economy" will play out when all of the bearded vegan Millennials in Brooklyn have rented everything they own, a few surprises may be in store. "There's kind of this image out there in the media," says Alexandra Samuel, vice president of social media at cloud-based customer intelligence platform Vision Critical. "But it turns out not to be accurate." It's not just that some of them don't have beards. Consumer sharing of transportation and accommodations, in addition to the renting of items like apparel, sports equipment or jewelry, is rapidly becoming mainstream. Consumers aren't taking part solely because they can't afford to pay. Certainly, there's value in sharing costs. But researchers increasingly are hearing consumers say they share because they're concerned about overconsumption, they desire unique experiences and they want to encourage community and sustainability. FORECASTING MINDFULNESS Millennials are at the forefront, but the new sharing economy includes consumers of all ages. "People - Millennials in particular - have grown used to rolling up their sleeves and fixing problems on their own," says Matt Weiss, global chief marketing officer at integrated marketing communications agency Havas Worldwide. "They create or find apps to help them work/study more productively, they contribute to crowdfunding sites to spur the development of products they want, they use social media to find out where to dine, where to visit and what to do once there. "It's a way of consuming information and things that is much more hands-on and proactive than anything we experienced even a decade or two ago." How all of this applies to the way we buy, NRF.COM/STORES sell, rent, share, own or even produce goods and services is a hot topic of study. In May, Nielsen released "Is Sharing the New Buying?" a report based on a survey of more than 30,000 consumers with online access in 60 countries. The results showed that two-thirds of respondents are willing to share or rent personal assets for financial gain, as well as utilize products and services from others in a sharing community. Forbes has estimated the personal goods sharing market will surpass $3.5 billion this year. That's growth of more than 25 percent - and analysts say the collaborative economy could double over the next 12 months. Earlier this year, Vision Critical and Crowd Companies released "Sharing is the New Buying: How to Win in the Collaborative Economy," the result of two surveys of more than 90,000 adult consumers in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Havas Worldwide, meanwhile, released the 18th volume of its Prosumer Report: "The New Consumer and the Sharing Economy." That study, in partnership with Market Probe International, polled 10,000 people aged 16 Forbes has estimated the personal goods sharing market will surpass $3.5 billion this year. STORES August 2014 41 http://www.NRF.COM/STORES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - August 2014

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STORES Magazine - August 2014