The sharing economy
This poll on using second-hand goods was timed to coincide with the first Global Sharing Day – the 14 November celebration of a huge variety of collaborative activities, such as bartering skills, using a bike or car sharing scheme, trading pre-loved books and clothes, swapping houses for holidays, carpooling and more.
It taps into a wider trend of collaborative consumption, detailed in a new book and last year named by Time as one of the 10 ideas that will change the world. Collaborative consumption explains the rise of traditional peer-to-peer types of trade (sharing, bartering, renting, lending, gifting and the like), helped by the boom in online networking made possible by the information revolution.
Saving money is an attractive reason to work together. There can be environmental benefits (think: carpooling) and sharing may even help build community.
A poll by the Global Sharing Day organisers of more than 2,000 Brits says adults in the United Kingdom save an average of £99 (EUR123) a year.
Watch for hidden costs
One of the traps the peer-to-peer marketplace might present is not putting a value on time. If you travel an hour out of your way to pick up a used book, is it worth it?
In economic terms, the opportunity cost might be too high.
Of course, there may be ways to work around the problem, perhaps sourcing a closer book swap.