Havas: Consumers coming around to the sharing economy

Most consumers are beginning to make more collaborative and sustainable purchases in order to waste less and improve society, according to a global study by Havas Worldwide.

NEW YORK: Most consumers are beginning to make more collaborative and sustainable purchases in order to waste less and improve society, according to a global study by Havas Worldwide.

Fielded by Market Probe International, the study revealed that 69% of mainstream consumers and 77% of "prosumers," or individuals ahead of the curve in adopting products and services, believe that overconsumption is putting our society and planet at risk.

With 55% of mainstream respondents agreeing that consumer spending helps lead to a healthy economy, the proposed solution to overconsumption is to consume products and services in smarter ways, according to the study.

Both prosumers (88%) and consumers (76%) agree that societal and economic progress is about consuming better rather than consuming more.

"We’re living in a less-is-more economy," explained Marian Salzman, North American CEO at Havas PR. "Small is the new big, and we are also completely happy to recognize that if we don’t need to own something, it’s really okay to share it."

More than 33% of Millennial consumers who were surveyed belong to a sharing service or expect to join one in the next year.

The online survey, which included 10,574 participants ages 16 and older across 19 markets, revealed that brands have a number of ways to get involved with consumers on these issues. More than 70% of consumers and 81% of prosumers said they would like to see brands act as guarantors for products and services that people resell on the Internet. Also, 91% of prosumers and 78% of consumers said they admire brands that help consumers waste less.

Nearly 90% of prosumers and 74% of consumers in the study said they admire companies that encourage customers to recycle or resell their own products.

Salzman added that brands should focus more on creating a great experience since that is more important to many consumers than owning an item.

"As marketers, we were told to sell people stuff, and now we need to understand that people are going to buy less, but they are going to still spend premium money on experiences, so we have to sell the experiences," she said.

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