June 10, 2014

The sharing economy expands into exclusive territory

Posted by: in North America

The sharing economy is getting a serious upgrade. By and large, luxury rentals have served as a way for the less affluent to access posh products—Rent the Runway, for instance, provides short-term access to designer dresses. Now more companies are testing the market’s ceiling with leasing options targeted to big spenders. The startup Eleven James focuses on timeshares for high-end timepieces. The priciest plan entails an annual fee of either $9,700—which grants customers three watches a year from the likes of Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe—or $17,250, which provides access to six watches for two months apiece.

The sharing model has already gone high-end when it comes to home rentals. In a chic twist on Airbnb, Time & Place offers “exquisitely curated global homes and villas” at five-star-hotel prices. There’s also Exclusive Exchanges and 3rdHome, which charges $2,500 to join and up to $1,000 in fees for each transaction. The Nashville-based startup, which is currently forging partnerships with developers of new resort properties, says its homes carry an appraisal value of $2.4 million.

Watch for collaborative consumption to reach new categories as consumers in more age and income brackets embrace this concept and become less focused on ownership than on access to luxury.

Image credit: Eleven James

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