The sharing economy is where an owner rents out something they aren’t using, such as a car, house, even kitchen appliances to a stranger. There’s no limit to what you can find in the sharing economy, and the prices tend to be lower as there’s limited infrastructure.
Research tells us that the shared economy was valued at 15B in 2013 and will be worth $350B in 2025. The upsurge in renting instead of owning things you use occasionally is driving this surge, with some models like AirBnB and Uber becoming household names. These businesses use a type of website that is known as a sharing platform, where the transaction can take place between the buyer and seller.
Like with everything new, the biggest issue can be trust – they sound good, but what do other people say, for instance, about taking an Uber to the airport? Some of the questions I would ask are; will they be reliable; will I miss my flight; what if they don’t know how to find my house; how do I even get an Uber?
Most services offer a rating or review system, so you can read about other people’s experiences and it creates trust both for users and providers. In the absence of being able to ask a friend whom they would use, we now access the Wisdom of the Crowd in the Cloud. You can hear from complete strangers, sift through reviews or ask them a question; How did they find the service, how was a particular person to deal with, did they feel they were getting a quality service. You can use these peer ratings to make a decision.
These offerings are gaining in popularity as we become used to sharing what we have with others. It’s an answer for when you have a part-time need or want to rent instead of owning something. It’s all about finding a solution and when you go to the marketplace, you are outsourcing the problem to get the work done.
Need a stand mixer to make a cake and a lawnmower to tidy up for the party, try the local sharing shed. If you require a car for a few hours, you could borrow the car next door. Furniture and decorations for an event can be hired. Attending a ball or other big occasion, you can borrow a designer dress or suit, high fashion handbag and accessories, for the event and return it a few days later. Need clothes for the few months when there’s a bundle of joy on the way, rent some pregnancy gear to feel beautiful. There’s even dog-sharing services that match the desperate and dog-less with dog owners for walks and visits, The sharing economy is for things what outsourcing is for people – you use what you need and share the resource with others.