The sharing economy is here to stay and was one of the fastest growing business trends of the last decade, although at this point in time it’s impossible to know the actual size of the sharing economy because many of the companies are private and don’t publish their full business results.
But to bring some focus on to value you only have to look at recent IPOs and the big players with their public valuations such as AirBNB, Upwork, Uber and the like.
So just what is the Sharing Economy? How does it look at the start of 2020?
In its simplest form it is swapping goods and services between two or more parties. This simple economic form has then been put on steroids by the inclusion of technology and cheap computing power. This new form of economic powerhouse will grow and evolve as both tech changes and more people have access to the internet globally.
Technology has allowed new forms of shared marketplace, collaborative platforms and peer-to-peer applications to be built. Today the ability to build a large global community has never been easier and the network of different communities and shared interests can power these new companies to success.
The sharing economy also has many other names and parts within its economic system such as Peer-to-Peer and Freelance/Gig workers and these terms are used interchangeably.
Technology has given these companies the ability to operate globally and vey efficiently. The companies are not loaded down with inventory and this helps these share-based businesses run lean. These efficiencies then allow these brands to pass-through value to their customers and their supply chain partners.
This is bringing challenges to existing industries and also their traditional support systems such as insurance. These support industries have lagged behind in the past decade but change is also coming faster to the whole network.
Transportation; Consumer Goods; Professional Services; Health Care these are the first of many areas where the sharing economy has affected their established business plans. Financial services, such as payment processes, are also being challenged to respond and new services are pouring into this once stable area which was controlled by the banks, no more.
Companies such as Uber, Ola, Lyft, eBay, Etsy, Rent the Runway, Fivrr, Upwork, People per Hour, Taskrabbit, Doctor on Demand all have million and billion dollar valuations and are growing fast. This was the result of the 2010 to 2019 decade….2020 onwards we will see these companies exploit their strong positions and changes in demographics.
What Is Next for the Sharing Economy?
More Technology and more disruption. But the difference will be that the sharing economy process will be assumed into the existing channels and the ways of doing business. Companies that don’t adapt will disappear and new ones will move into existing industries at a new faster pace.