Research on collaborative consumption (CC) is expanding in a number of different directions. This article by Benoit et al. aims to clarify the roles of the three main actors in CC – the platform provider, peer provider and customer – and delineate CC from other similar concepts.

The study conceptualizes CC using three criteria: the number and type of actors, the nature of the exchange, and the directness of exchange. It notes that, unlike other similar forms of sharing and access-based consumption, CC is triadic (i.e. involves three actors: the platform provider, peer provider and customer), does not involve exchange of ownership, and is mediated by market mechanisms.

The study also provides a discussion of the roles of the thee main actors, as manifested in their motives for CC, their activities, and capabilities. A number of potential research areas relative to CC, sourced from leading experts and scholars, are also presented.