The Sharing Economy

The continued disruption of established business models is seemingly pervasive, yet the ‘sharing economy’ is at its earliest stages.

From Uber to Airbnb, we are seeing two distinct reactions to this shift in consumer behavior: traditional entities are balking and resisting, and the consumers themselves are voting with enthusiastic engagement.

Which companies will win the “Sharing Economy?” It’s too early to call out any winners, but it’s evident that the online models of commerce are being challenged out of the gate and being “mobile first” is key.

Surprisingly few companies are leveraging the immediacy of mobile, and the ones that take this approach out of the gate stand to benefit the most from today’s global consumer who shifts between distraction and hyper-focus.

The opportunities that exist in mobile will be at the center of the next wave of must-watch challengers.

Read more about some of the movers in the first wave of this new market in The Guardian’s “The Sharing Economy: A Whole New Way of Living”. Some of our favorite excerpts are below:

“From accommodation to cars, the internet is turning us from consumers into providers and challenging established business models…”

“Today, it has been argued that the sharing economy – which is perhaps best defined as a way of sweating underutilised assets, by building communities around them and turning consumers into providers – has the potential to reboot businesses across most economic categories. Indeed, Forbes magazine recently estimated that total revenues for the sector could top $3.5bn this year, with growth exceeding 25%.“

“The fast-growing peer-to-peer (P2P) holiday lodgings market is another case in point. There are claims that its success is gnawing away at the incumbent hotel sector’s profit margins and even starting to have an impact on property prices. The hotel industry has begun to fight back, primarily, it seems, through behind the scenes lobbying of regulators and politicians…”

“The response of sharing economy companies encountering obstacles of this sort should be to rally the forces that stand to gain while making the case, wherever possible, that the forces of disruption can be good for “traditional” businesses too…”

“Social platforms will play a big role in this and open up all these categories, because people can just say, ‘I need this’ and there’s an instant audience. All these [sharing economy] sites have log-ins with Facebook, Twitter and Google+, which removes the friction, enabling us to make more rational use of our assets [like these]. That’s one of the reasons why the sharing economy is here to stay…”

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