Adjusting the Indonesian mindset towards collaborative consumption

by Christian Sugiono, Co-founder & CEO of
Adjusting the Indonesian mindset towards collaborative consumption
Photo credits: Shutterstock/Olivier Le Moal

Have you imagined utilizing primary stuff more by owning less in the future? Somewhat the possibility of this type of habit is influencing everyday needs. With the changing mindset of a new generation, different industries need to pay attention to unexpected business models if they wish to evolve and stay ahead of the game.

Renting something is not a new concept when you’re talking about property or heavy equipment. Property or financial investment is no longer seen as a promising way to spend one’s income. On the surface, it may seem that millennials are more focused on upgrading to the latest pocketable gadgets, budget traveling to some off the map destination or keeping up with the latest fashion trends to showcase on social media than planning for a nest egg. Experiencing the here-and-now and then telling everyone about it, without considering the future is the way of life of the millennials.

But who can blame them, with the ever-increasing price of nearly everything that earlier generations saw as a primary necessity and wages pretty much staying stagnant for decades. Millennials find it hard just to survive. And with what funds they do manage to save, is it any wonder they would want to spend their money on something affordable? Then post it to social media to boost their self-esteem.

As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and so goes the unique thinking process of several millennials. With this in mind, despite the uncertain economic conditions of today, many great ideas have come out of this technologically advanced generation causing great change in many fields. One such great idea to come out of this is the popularity of ride-sharing applications such as Touro, Gojek or Grab. Not only offering new job opportunities for motorcycle riders and car owners, but also changing how people view transportation as a whole. Instead of using personal transport just for personal gain, one can offer their ride to help another reach their destination.

The popularity of various e-commerce websites in Indonesia has also caused a major shift on how Indonesians consume various goods. Brick-and-mortar stores have become digitized to make way to an easier way to obtain a variety of items from anywhere in the world and have it conveniently delivered straight to your door. No longer does that hopeful fashionista in a small rural town only dream of owning that stylish outfit she saw her idol just wear on YouTube.

Yet, this sudden ease of consumerism has caused a whole new problem all together. The high cost of property has caused many to opt for smaller living quarters, hence a lack of place to store all their goods.

I was also faced with such a dilemma when my children grew too big for all their baby stuff and were stuck with a variety of baby products. What was I to do with all these items that were still good, but slightly used? Selling them all off was an option, but without the original packaging, any hopes of getting my money's worth back were slim.

Something a little different that we may all relate to is our choice of clothing and the minimum space in our closet. What do you do when you’re wearing the same suit over and over again for formal occasion to the point people are starting to notice. You want to buy a new one to upgrade your look, but your wardrobe is full and already hard to close. If there was only a way to wear something new, that won’t cause your closet to explode.

Feeding on the collaborative consumption mindset of millennials, where owning something is less important than having the opportunity to experience it and then showing it off or talking about it, the presence of an online platform that simplifies the whole renting process is an untapped opportunity yet to be seriously delved into by any business that wishes to offer this concept to customers or users. This opportunity is where we see rental marketplace CUMI can exceed as a business that provides easy access to utilize specific items that can be consumed collaboratively.

This is like an innovative idea, several big-name companies have adopted this “sharing” concept. For instance, Swedish furniture company IKEA and its furniture rental service, where potential buyers can rent an item, such as a sofa or coffee table for 30 days before choosing to purchase it. Think of it as a test ride for furniture of sorts.

Another example is renting luxury items in the US. This trend is already well adopted in the fashion industry. Based on a survey featured in Business of Fashion-Mckinsey State of Fashion, 44 percent of respondents answered that owning a pre-owned fashion item was more relevant in 2019 while 41 percent saw renting was a more relevant way of obtaining a fashion item.

To “change” the mindset and behavior of users as well as business owners in order to better establish a collaborative consumption-based economy, there are several obstacles that still need to be overcome. One such obstacle that often arises from the concept of collaborative consumption or shared economy is trust. Trust between the renter and owner of the asset needs to be created, where both parties feel a significant gain, without either gaining a bad experience.

A renter must feel that the item that they are renting is as they expect and in good quality, while the asset owner needs an ease of mind, knowing that the item they just rented will return in the same condition it was before. Cooperating with an insurance firm is one solution.

A new form of trust between both parties needs to be created. An evaluating method between both parties, where a renter can rank their experience with a vendor and vice versa, like what has been utilized by share ride applications is another method that can hopefully materialize this form of trust.

Furthermore, consumers slowly realizing that storage space is somewhat of a luxury today, the mindset of having to fully own something is less important than being able to utilize it to the fullest by sharing it with others that may need it as well. This new approach might be alarming for traditional business owners unless they are able to embrace change and want to fully understand this new consumer behavior which only utilizes the core purpose of the object for a specific period of time.

As this new generation continues to break the fundamentals of what was once set by the older generation, we continue to wait for further innovations to make our lives easier and of course also help us prosper in the end.


Published by

Share this Article