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The Sharing Economy: Millennials Just Want to Share Not Buy

Who wants to buy when it is easier and cheaper to simply share? In a growing trend that is baffling and causing much hand wringing for marketing and advertising agencies, Millennials (a k a Generation Y) just want to share not buy. In an Atlantic Magazine piece written by JordanWeissmann and Derek Thompson called “The Cheapest Generation” car makers are finding it increasingly difficult to sell even economical sub-compacts to this generation. According to the piece, “In 2010, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 bought just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in America, down from the peak of 38 percent in 1985. Miles driven are down, too. Even the proportion of teenagers with a license fell, by 28 percent, between 1998 and 2008.”

While the emergence of “The Sharing Economy,” has caused alarm bells to sound in the car industry, other companies such as  Zipcar has become the world’s largest car-sharing company with over 700,000 members. Renting a ride is as easy as a few taps on the Zipcar iphone app. This is a generation that has migrated to bohemian enclaves such as Portland, Austin, Seattle, Ashville, Brooklyn, and Chapel Hill, where they have come to expect public transportation alternatives as well as living life on a barrista’s salary. Buying a car is a necessity in most of the US, but young people in these zipcodes are increasingly ditching the monthly car payment, avoiding extortion level insurance costs, not to mention opting out of paying for the ever volatile price of gas.

And the sharing economy does not stop with cars. Young people are increasingly using social networking sites to share apartments, used clothing, electronics, pets, gardening duties.

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