Building Buying Power Through Crowdsourcing

In an article over the weekend, Jo Thornhill at The Daily Mail in London made an effort to categorize some of the ways that the "crowd" is lending a hand to one another to increase buying power.  The focus of the article is on the collective buying power of crowds versus the individual.  When I discuss collaborative consumption models, I speak more broadly, including borrowing/lending schemes, landshare, carsharing, etc.  Thornhill's focus is primarily in the businesses that bring individual's together to save money through collective purchasing power.  The article breaks these businesses into four categories:
Mortgage merger: Stefan Canavan, left, and James Bertioli bought a flat together. Source: The Daily Mail

Online Collectives: Small business owners and freelancers join forces at Incahoot.com, where discounted internet, phone and energy contracts are offered through collective bargaining.  Online collectives are straightforward discount schemes built on bulk discounts for purchasing volume.

Co-Operatives: The local trade association, Co-Operatives UK, reports there are more than 400 buying cooperatives in the region and that 50% of consumers are planning to save money by participating with a co-operative.

Investment Clubs: This is exactly what it sounds like.  Small groups of colleagues, friends, or families pay an annual fee to participate in a collective investment fund.  Groups generally meet monthly to discuss investment strategies in equity and bond markets.

House Buying: Risk and trust are a massive part of this collective buying scheme, where individuals join with friends or even strangers to purchase a home together on one mortgage.  Co-Operative Financial Services allows up to four individuals to join together in one mortgage.  This a huge enabler for singles, who have difficulty ever saving enough to afford real estate on their own.

Link to original article by Jo Thornhill at The Daily Mail.

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