With the Experience and Sharing Economies widely discussed and notions of decluttering and Stuffocation sold as pathways to a better life, this Trends Breakfast was a timely look at our relationship with ownership and materiality.

The Sharing Economy is changing the traditional notions of ownership, with businesses identifying a market for the borrowing or sharing of services and balancing the benefits of ownership without the need for long-term obligation (as in the case of Uber, Zipcar or BorrowMyDoggy).

But our relationship with ownership is more complicated than practicality alone. A music collection was once a set of meticulously curated vinyl records, later a materiality-free set of mp3s in a folder on your computer. Now, while the concept of music ownership has been rendered irrelevant by subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music, vinyl sales reached their highest level since Simply Red’s Starstopped the charts in 1991.

Complicating these matters further are socioeconomic developments such as the housing crisis and stagnant wage growth, forcing us to reconceptualise what ‘things’ we need to get by in the 21st century.