After officiating three friends’ weddings for free, it seems I should be monetizing my credentials. In the thick of planning my own wedding now, the whole process seems more muddled with choices than it used to be. Venues, dresses and cake flavors are still mulled over endlessly, but in addition to the traditional purchasing channels, there are also a multitude of new ones.

With a quick Craigslist search, brides can now find a ceremony officiant who is simply a regular person looking to make someone’s wedding special – and looking to make a few bucks doing it. With a swift eBay query, grooms can purchase used table centerpieces from other newlyweds.

This evolved process presents more decisions that must be made, but it can certainly present financial benefits to both parties involved as well.

Beyond the bridal world, farmers’ markets and open-air bazaars have long allowed people to sell their wares straight to others. But the advent of platforms like Etsy and Airbnb has affected a profound shift in the ability of everyday people to earn money; such platforms have simplified and mainstreamed the ability for individuals to sell hand-knit scarves or rent out their homes as hotels.  

Consumers recognize the worth of their time, belongings and space and are looking to monetize anything and everything.

And now, the ever-connected nature of our culture has moved us beyond even these conventional digital marketplaces, further removing the middleman from nearly any given transaction. As the Mintel Trend Cashing In explains, consumers are recognizing the worth of their time, belongings and space and are looking to monetize anything and everything – which ultimately translates to more savings for buyers and more profits for sellers.

Post-recession, money is still tight. In fact, according to Mintel research, three in 10 US Millennials agree that paying day-to-day bills is their main priority and challenge, highlighting a need for this new marketplace.

Already, we’ve seen consumers become comfortable using apps like TaskRabbit, which connects people who want to outsource small jobs to people willing to complete those tasks for a nominal fee. That concept is expanding, and every day we’re seeing the creation of fresh platforms that facilitate money-making for the masses; people are discovering ways to monetize their time, assets, skills and even data in unique ways:

  • Drivy is a European platform that lets car owners rent out their cars when they are not in use to make a bit of money.
  • PhiLOCK is Spanish start-up that allows cyclists to easily rent out their bikes. Owners can set their bike to “available” via an app, and those looking to rent can then use a smartphone-connected lock to pay and access the wheels. 
  • Home-Cooked is an online platform in China’s major cities that lets hungry users connect with domestic chefs in their neighborhood. Busy urban dwellers can order home-cooked meals made by those who have the time to cook and the desire to make extra cash.
  • In the UK, people can now collect their package deliveries from their neighbors through Doddle. People can sign up to become Doddle Neighbors and earn up to $900 per month just for taking in other people’s packages.

This cultural trend poses a potential threat to companies who aren’t aware of its growing ubiquity, but savvy brands are already getting ahead by actively setting up peer-to-peer marketplaces. Look to these as inspiration:

  • French DIY retailer Mr. Bricolage has launched La Dépanne, a platform that allows people to offer up sparsely used home improvement tools for rent to their nearby peers. Tool renters pay a fee, and Mr. Bricolage takes a cut.
  • Linio, an Argentinian retailer, has partnered with local carpooling website Tripda to reduce delivery prices for customers. When an order is received, Linio’s website contacts Tripda carpoolers who have similar destinations. Once the product is delivered, drivers are rewarded with a Linio voucher.

In the advertising world, there could also be new opportunities for companies and consumers to exchange both content and messaging space:

  • Foap is a US app that aims to change the stock photo market by letting real people sell their smartphone photos to brands, companies and agencies. Foap’s digital marketplace aims to provide photos for those looking for more localized content from everyday life.
  • Wrapify is a US start-up that pays car owners money to cover their cars fully or partially in advertising for three- to 12-month campaigns, with payment on a per-mile driving basis.

For brands, staying ahead of this trend could also mean placing a strong emphasis on the convenience consumers get by buying their products. Staying ahead could even net brands some incremental spending money – so they shouldn’t be afraid to put those credentials and skills to good use.

To find out more about Mintel Trends and how they impact your market, click here.

Stacy Glasgow is a Consumer Trends Consultant at Mintel. Stacy joined Mintel in 2013 bringing with her an exciting blend of CPG, agency and marketing experience. Her time is spent traveling the US engaging clients across global CPG, Beauty and Financial Services in meaningful discussions around the consumer trends that will propel their businesses forward.