The folks at the web publication Shareable collaborated with Latitude Research to produce an interesting new report on "the new sharing economy" (think practices like couchsurfing and tool libraries and car sharing). Among their findings:
75% of participants predicted that their offline sharing will increase in the next 5 years. While fast growing, this new sector has lots of unmet demand. More than half of all participants either shared vehicles casually or expressed interest in doing so. Similarly, 62% of participants either share household items casually or expressed interest in doing so. There's also high interest in sharing of physical spaces for travel, storage, and work - even with complete strangers.
This isn't conclusive proof that we're abandoning the idea of private ownership of big, expensive things like houses, cars, or lawnmowers. But anecdotally, it certainly does seem like sharing is on the rise. And environmental and economic forces are aligned behind it.
The report also features the interesting graph above, which suggests that "household items/appliances" and "time/responsibilities" are the things we may be sharing next. You may not be able to read the small version above, but the full report is available for download (PDF).