Yours, Mine, and Ours: A User-centric Analysis of Opportunities and Challenges in Peer-to-peer Asset Sharing

Authors: Mark-Philipp Wilhelms, Katrin Merfeld, and Sven Henkel
Date published: December 2017
Research commissioned by: EBS University for Business & Law

Why did we select this research?

The sharing economy is growing globally in terms of user numbers, service providers, and novel concepts. Peer-to-peer (P2P) asset sharing, or asset rental between private individuals, has attracted the attention of entrepreneurs and researchers alike. This paper engages in a detailed investigation of participation motives in the P2P car-sharing context. 

Key findings

  • The success of P2P sharing networks is determined by their ability to attract owners and renters with compatible participation motives. 

  • To position a service as an alternative to B2C sharing and product ownership, the key value propositions have to be examined from a consumer’s perspective. 

  • A precise positioning is necessary to ensure a sufficient degree of market liquidity, regarding user numbers and transaction feasibility. After all, users report that it is frustrating not to receive any rental requests or not to find a rentable asset. 

  • Strategic partnerships can be of value to define a network’s unique selling proposition. Governmental agencies, product manufacturers, distributors, and B2C rental services can be valuable partners for entrepreneurs for several reasons. 

  • Depending on the asset to be shared, partners can be imperative at different phases of the ownership and rental process, whether it is the transfer of trust, the provision of expertise, or facilitation of the service.

  • P2P asset sharing raises questions, reservations, and opposition from consumers. Entrepreneurs need to design a clear customer journey to provide customers with the necessary information, help, and advice required at each stage. 

  • P2P networks have to develop procedural guidelines to manage the process and clearly indicate allocation of duties between the renters, owners, and networks

  • The findings reveal that the positioning of many sharing firms as a means of social collaboration for promoting community building and environmentally friendly alternatives falls short of capturing the wealth of consumers’ participation motives. 


Wilhelms, M. P., Merfeld, K., & Henkel, S. (2017). Yours, mine, and ours: A user-centric analysis of opportunities and challenges in peer-to-peer asset sharing. Business Horizons, 60(6), 771-781. Retrieved from: