There is a conventional wisdom that says ‘people who own a drill only want the hole.’ Which is to say, the drill is only the means to get them what they truly want.
This is used as a common example for the promise of the burgeoning ‘sharing economy’. That people would rather not own drills, but would rather be able to create holes ‘on demand’, by quickly renting or borrowing a neighbor’s drill. This exchange is supposedly easily facilitated with a central application or platform to help people communicate these needs. This logic also extends to cars, houses and more goods and services. A lot consumers would prefer to have services on demand than having to own a piece of equipment.
However, it is not a universal truth. While some people may indeed by a drill for the sake of collecting the drill itself, and others just want the hole, a lot of buyers are purchasing the freedom that comes from owning the drill, and the knowledge and peace of mind knowing they can make the hole whenever the like, without waiting for others.
If on demand services of the sharing economy get so good that people know and trust they can get a hole whenever they want it, truly on demand, then sharing services will take off. However, the sharing economy is based on the whims of people, amateurs in a local vicinity with no great incentive to provide extraordinary customer service. There will still remain a large chunk of the population that prefers to own their own tools for the ready convenience, even if those tools go unused for 99% of their existence.
The tool’s ‘potential use’ value is what is worth purchasing.