Collaborative luxury consumption is a phenomenon that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Owning new goods is not the only way for consumers to experience luxury, with an increasing number of people preferring rental models or buying ‘preloved’ second-hand items.
What does collaborative consumption mean?
Collaborative consumption is an economic model based on the exchange and sharing of material goods, services, or knowledge and is often linked to the concept of sharing economy.
Made popular in other sectors such as transport (Uber) or hospitality (Airbnb), it is making inroads in the fashion and accessories sector.
The merits of collaborative consumption are different.
First of all, it is an accessible form of consumption, as it allows consumers to obtain goods and services more easily and at a lower price. At the same time, it improves the use of resources and reduces waste. In other words, it is more sustainable.
As we can see, collaborative consumption represents a new approach to the consumption of goods and services, in contrast to the traditional consumerist capitalist economy.
If previously producers, sellers, and suppliers offered goods and services to an audience of passive consumers, now the latter become active and can themselves be sellers and suppliers. It is a model that places less importance on private property in favour of the distribution of resources.
In general, the collaborative model includes bartering, sharing, lending, leasing and renting. By extension, it also includes the sale of second-hand and vintage products.
Reasons behind traditional luxury consumption and collaborative luxury consumption
What drives people to buy luxury goods?
Some of the main reasons are:
- social status,
- social pressures,
- product quality,
- investment for the future,
- gifts for special occasions,
- impulse purchases.
At present, there aren’t enough official studies that explain what drives the consumption of luxury goods on a collaborative basis. However, we know that some of the aforementioned values remain valid, while new ones are added, such as, for example, the desire to do good to the planet and the community, the abandonment of an individualistic vision in favour of a collectivistic one, the idea that social status can be expressed through "use" instead of "property".
In general, consumers are re-evaluating priorities and, as a result, their attitude towards luxury is changing.
As an example, it is worth mentioning some of the reasons why consumers prefer to rent luxury fashion items instead of buying them:
- the need to have a new dress (or accessory) for a single special event (e.g. wedding, cultural event);
- the curiosity to try a new way to consume luxury goods at affordable prices;
- the desire to make more sustainable choices (increase the life cycle of the product, reduce waste).
In conclusion, collaborative luxury consumption seems to depend on motivations concerning both the product and the experience. The former has to do with the quality of the good, while the latter refers to the social and environmental aspects connected to its use.