Understanding What The Sharing Economy Is All About

Have you heard the term sharing economy used often but unsure what it really is? If you are one of those people (I once was), that are confused you may be using it without realizing it. A few prime examples I always give people are Craigslist, Airbnb, or Lyft. These peer-to-peer marketplaces are giving the people the power to buy, rent, swap, or lend their services or products. So what is so great about it and what else should you know? Take a look at 4 highlights you need to associate with understanding the sharing economy.

1. Sharing Is Caring.

Do you remember when you were little and your parents or teachers would tell you “sharing is caring”. At the time it was simple, you would share your toy with another kid and didn’t think anything much of it but that small gesture went a long way. It instilled the concept of sharing at such as young age that it became second nature to some (not all kids loved to share). As people got older sharing became less of a practice and more about “what I need to do to survive”.

The term “Sharing Economy” became popularized and people were able to not only share, but also make some extra money to help them survive. The perfect combination for people to share their resources, whether it is physical or human services such as a people based marketplace. Many successful companies such as AirBnb, TaskRabbit, Lyft, Turo, and Lending Club are all perfect examples of the impact the sharing economy can have. They have revolutionized how many operate with their daily lives and even how businesses are structured.  

2. Peer-To-Peer Collaboration.

This is what the sharing economy is all about isn’t it? Working together with individuals that help achieve your ultimate goal. Whether that is getting a ride with Lyft from point A to B, getting shopping done by using Instacart, or Upwork by finding a designer for your new landing page. The direct connection has never been easier with these type of sites or apps that a middleman is no longer needed. Big enterprise companies are even getting in on the action with Intel creating their Developer marketplace and Hallmark with their community based marketplace. This speaks volumes if big companies are spending money to get a piece of the pie.

3. Earn Some Cash Back.

Have you ever hosted a garage sale or end up throwing away junk that you no longer use? I know I have been there and many people I know as well. Maybe it’s clothes that used to fit you 2 years ago or toys that your kids grew out of. This happens quite often and with the help of the sharing economy, it has allowed us to gain some of that money back. With marketplaces such as Craigslist, OfferUp, or LetGo it has helped people declutter their homes. While some simply do it to make more room, others unfortunately look to add new things. The great thing about this is that items are not simply left on the side of the street or freeway. Why not get some money back from old items even if it is only 5-10% of the original value? It’s worth a shot listing your items before heading straight to the trash.

4. The Bigger Picture Of “We”.

After all the term does have the word “sharing” in it. This “me” attitude many have has slowly changed to about being “we” with the turn of the sharing economy. Instead of promoting themselves, marketplaces have restored a community like feeling but in a virtual way. If you ever lived in a small town, you understand the power of a community. Everyone knew their neighbors, doctors, and even the small corner store people would visit. There was something about it that brought everyone together. That is unheard of now with big cities and hundreds of thousands of people living in large cities. You are lucky to know 2-3 neighbors now with people so focused on themselves carrying the “me” attitude.

While the sharing economy has been around for quite some time, it became more popularized in the last decade. People are giving rides with their own cars via Lyft or Uber, renting out a room or their whole home via Airbnb, or even lending their cars via Turo. The concept of borrowing, lending, or sharing an asset isn’t such a crazy concept as it once was. With access of the internet and social media in the palm of our hands, sharing is at an all time high and is expected to only grow from here. By 2025, the sharing economy is forecasted to reel in about $335 billion. That’s huge especially when it came from $14 billion in 2014.

If you were hesitant or unsure of what the sharing economy was capable of, you may want to revisit your initial thoughts. Traditional economies are being disrupted by the sharing economy and it’s not too late to jump in as well. You don’t have to come up with a brand new idea but rather be better than your competition. Take time to conduct your research and see how you can make a splash in the economy.


Are you currently apart of the sharing economy or are planning an idea? We’d love to hear about it! Catch us on social media and give us a shout with your stories.

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