The usage economy, also known as the “economy of functionality”, is an innovative economic model in the industrial sector. This innovative model is part of a drive to develop a “greener” and more “sustainable” industry. It consists of offering the use of a product rather than its possession. This is different from the traditional approach, where the emphasis is on owning assets. The aim here is to develop solutions that will be integrated into goods or services.
In this article, we will first take a closer look at the definition of the user economy, then explain how it differs from the traditional model, and finally look at the various possible advantages for manufacturers.
The usage economy is an innovative business model in the industrial sector. It consists of encouraging use rather than possession, thereby enabling the development of a more circular economy. The way the economy works is no longer based on the ownership of goods. The equipment remains the property of the manufacturer throughout the product’s life cycle, and the manufacturer offers to pay users according to how the equipment is used. This model is different from leasing, because it has a sustainable development objective.
Let’s look at two examples to illustrate the concept of the usage economy.
First, let’s take the example of Clarlight. The company offers companies lighting without having to invest in equipment, with an all-inclusive service. Clarlight’s lights perform better and last longer. They adapt to natural light and the presence of people. What’s more, these lights provide consumers with energy balances so that they can intervene quickly for maintenance. In this way, Clarlight is working to reduce the consumption of energy resources and to manage waste.
Michelin has also produced this model. The company has put in place a usage economy offer for heavy goods vehicles. The aim is to offer an economic model based on kilometres travelled instead of traditional tyre sales. These tyres are eco-designed to improve durability and performance. In addition, Michelin offers solutions that take care of the entire management of truck and bus tyre components, with the aim of saving fuel and helping drivers to drive more responsibly.
The use economy has two parts:
Here are the differentiating principles for suppliers:
Then, for users:
Benefits for suppliers:
Benefits for users:
In conclusion, the user economy model is very different from the traditional marketing model, which represents a significant change for industrial products and services. The advantage is that it offers greater sustainability and efficiency for products by providing services rather than just marketing.
This new model is becoming increasingly popular and could well become the model of choice. It is vital that companies continue to propose new economic models such as the use economy in order to work towards a more sustainable future.