Most people agree that the sharing economy will fundamentally change our lives and some of our industries. The success of the sharing economy has touched off a struggle over its meaning. Some want to interpret it as a sign of a brighter future, whilst others perceive it as a start of a revolution.
Car-sharing has become serious competition to the classic car ownership model. According to Nielsen ‘smart companies will harness the advantage of sharing services into their own products and services. Car manufacturers such as Volkswagen and General Motors have invested in car sharing apps; the idea being, the more you get a ride in their cars, the more likely you’ll be to buy one in the future.’
Airbnb an internet based system used by people looking for a place to stay in a city they plan to visit, ran into trouble with authorities; it was still unclear how people who rented out their private living space should be taxed and whether they were subject to hotel tax law in New York, for example. The necessary regulatory framework isn’t yet completely defined, but Airbnb’s millions of users show there is enormous demand for such a service. According to Chris Morley group managing director of Nielsen UK and Ireland stated that Forbes estimated that $3.5 billion went directly into people’s wallet last year alone via the sharing economy.
People who share goods require less of them on the whole, thus they solve ecological problems and create a new type of solidarity – communal living – and therefore a better and more co-operative life. The sharing economy, perceived in this way, is society’s salvation from the evils of consumerism and competitiveness.
The Current State Of The Global Sharing Economy
Nielsen has conducted a ‘Global Survey of Share Communities’ which polled more than 30,000 internet respondents across 60 countries to identify participation around the world.
- 78% of Asia-Pacific respondents are willing to share their own goods, whilst 81% are likely to rent from others
- 70% of Latin American respondents are willing to share their own goods, whilst 73% are likely to rent from others
- 68 % of Middle East/Africa respondents are willing to share their own goods, whilst 71% are likely to rent from others
It is interesting to note that behaviour amongst European and North American respondents differed slightly:
- 54% of European respondents are willing to share their goods, whilst 44% are likely to rent from others
- 52% of North American respondents are willing to share their goods, whilst 43% are likely to rent from others
‘While the internet still has limited reach in many parts of the world, the comparatively high willingness of online consumers in developing regions to participate in the share communities demonstrates how the web can quickly become part of the culture. Online consumers in developing markets often represent a younger more affluent demographic than the general population, which can contribute to greater eagerness and enthusiasm’ - Nielsen
In the sharing economy it’s not about becoming a better person. The platforms are used because they save money and users can meet other people. Car sharing for instance contributes directly to an efficient use of our roads and highways infrastructure. In light of the heavy traffic on many of our streets and the fact that there are only 1.5 people on average per car, this is urgently necessary.
In addition, the sharing economy conveys experiences that go beyond the pure economic rationality. A person gets to meet strangers and they both talk with one another. It is increasingly rare that people start a conversation and get to know each other’s lifestyles and opinions without a goal or purpose. These exchanges simply bring a little piece of humanity into an increasingly anonymous and lonely world full of people on the go.