You may have heard of the collaborative or sharing economy- the concept is quite simple. Consumers are able to get what they need from each other instead of always going to large organizations. This includes good such as baby toys and wedding dresses to services such as web design work or ride sharing.
It’s true, that the terms “sharing” or “collaborative economy” are being quite overused to encompass pretty much any and every single thing you think of, and that causes a lot of confusion. For example many of the things that fall under the sharing economy are what we used to simply call “renting,” now it seems as though any business that is aiming to target a consumer of any kind somehow gets labeled as being a part of the “sharing economy.” However overtime this will be ironed out and clarified as the market matures.
Jeremiah Owyang, who is my guest on this episode of The Future of Work Podcast put together a very helpful visual which helps paint a picture of what we are seeing.
I think Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation of what the sharing economy is:
The sharing economy (sometimes also referred to as the peer-to-peer economy, mesh, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption) is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations. These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services. A common premise is that when information about goods is shared, the value of those goods may increase, for the business, for individuals, and for the community.
Consider the following numbers from Forbes:
“The revenue flowing through the share economy directly into people’s wallets will surpass $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25%. At that rate, peer-to-peer sharing is moving from an income boost in a stagnant wage market into a disruptive economic force.”
To help shed some light on what the sharing or collaborative economy is all about and how it’s impacting both businesses and consumers, we turn to my guest for this week, Jeremiah Owyang.
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