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Are co-ops the way of the future?

Are co-ops the way of the future?

Posting in Technology

Sharing isn't just for hipsters anymore, but is a broader change in consumer thinking, according to a new survey.

You can see it in the successes of Zipcars and bikeshares, tool co-ops and even Netflix: ownership is out and sharing is in.

That's the result of a survey conducted by Minneapolis ad agency Campbell Mithun, providing evidence that what is known as "collaborative consumption" or a "sharing economy" should be on the mind of anyone peddling goods or services.

And a sharing economy is not just popular among young, impoverished hipsters. The twenty-something Generation Y crowd and Generation Xers had a similar interest in sharing and bartering goods, around 62%, according to the survey.

In a short Youtube video explaning this "sharing economy," the group notes companies -- eBay, at-home accommodation site AirBNB, ZipCar, and even Craigslist -- as examples of the trend. Some of the companies serve as a portal to connect people who want to share or trade, while others offer a subscription model for unlimited use without ownership.

Is this preference a sign of hard economic times, or does it represent a broader change in consumer thinking?

Check out the video:

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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Hannah Waters

Weekend Editor

Weekend Editor Hannah Waters is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn. She writes a blog on the Scientific American network, and has written for Nature Medicine and The Scientist. She holds Biology and Latin degrees from Carleton College. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure