Commentary: The shift from owning to renting goods is ushering in a new era of consumerism


Beyond revenue: Profit isn’t the sole aim anymore. The access-based economy focuses on sustainable practices and societal impact. Businesses can position themselves as conscious brands by promoting resource optimization and contributing to societal and communal welfare. This shift towards corporate social responsibility not only elevates a brand’s image, but also resonates with the growing consumer demand for ethical consumption.

The power of trust: Trust is one of the cornerstones of the access-based economy. Consumers need the assurance of safety, quality and reliability before partaking in sharing transactions. Businesses can foster trust by implementing transparent practices, rigorous quality checks and responsive customer service.


While ownership does offer consumers unique benefits, including enhanced autonomy and a stronger sense of consumer identity, it’s clear we are shifting away from this model.

As consumers and businesses navigate and adapt to this new landscape, we are not just witnessing a change in how we consume, but in how we perceive value, community and our roles within it.

This dynamic shift towards an access-based model, fuelled by intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, is driven by the idea of a shared future built on access to goods and services, improved efficiency and collective value.

Seung Hwan Lee is Professor and Associate Dean of Engagement & Inclusion, Ted Rogers School of Management, Toronto Metropolitan University. Omar H Fares is Lecturer in the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management, Toronto Metropolitan University. This commentary first appeared on The Conversation.


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