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Social impact of the Collaborative Consumption

  • Published on December 24, 2014
"COLLABORATION OR BUSINESS? From value for users to a society with values" Carpooling, P2P accommodation, repair cafés, bartering networks, social eating and micro-task sites are just some of the Collaborative Consumption activities. The true value of the platforms is the quality of the connections they generate between their users and their capacity to create a safe environment. But just a few platforms aim to transform society by creating an economy based on fairer values.
Four consumers associations - Altroconsumo (Italy), DECO-Proteste (Portugal), OCU (Spain) and Test-Achats/ Test Aankoop (Belgium) - came together to undertake a pioneering research project on the CC phenomenon from the point of view of its effect on consumers and society. In undertaking this research we set out a series of questions that we thought were important to resolve: 1. Do P2P collaborative consumption platforms add value for individual consumers? 2. Are CC platforms a safe environment for users? 3. Do P2P CC platforms produce the beneficial impacts that some claim they do at economic, social and environmental levels? Are they creating value for society as a whole? 4. Does the CC phenomenon represent a paradigm change or is it just a different way of doing the same business? The research employed a multi-method design that involved ‘consumers’, ‘platforms’ and ‘experts’. The research included 33 CC experts, over 8,600 consumers (CC users and non-users), and a sample of 70 P2P CC platforms across the four participating countries: -- Consumers’ (users and non-users of CC) survey: a survey of over 8,600 citizens and CC users, including the general population, consumer association members and platform users. -- Delphi research with CC experts and a survey of platforms: Firstly, a detailed and exhaustive research process was conducted to identify key impact indicators in collaboration with 33 CC experts. On the basis of the Delphi research an on-line questionnaire was developed and sent to 70 CC platforms, however only 26 responded. -- An observational study of the legal dimensions of CC platforms: Using a bespoke observational protocol, researchers evaluated 70 CC platforms on the basis of a series of legal issues. -- A Netnographic study of the social and interactive dimensions of CC platforms: Using a completely original instrument researchers evaluated the systems and content of 70 CC platforms for functionality, virtual reputation, monitoring and community footprint Consumer awareness Business influence Basis for further research and regulation

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