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New report highlights the growth in the sharing economy

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It’s been hard to escape the rise of the sharing economy in the last few years, with an ever growing number of industries affected by collaborative start-ups providing platforms for us to share our goods and services with one another.  A new report published recently by Vision Critical and Crowd Companies highlights just how rapid this growth has been.

The report, called Sharing is the New Buying, saw over 90,000 people surveyed to find out how they were engaging with the collaborative economy.  It emerged that over 25% of the population is now regularly using sharing platforms, be that AirBnB or Kickstarter, eLance or TaskRabbit.  The report goes on to predict that this participation rate is expected to double in the next year.

Users in the sharing economy were typically in one of three main groups:

  1. Non sharers – these are people that have yet to engage with the sharing economy, albeit they have expressed a willingness to do so in future.
  2. Re sharers – are people that have sold goods person to person via services such as eBay.
  3. Neo sharers - are people that have used the sharing economy at least once in the last year.

Almost half of the neo sharer category fall into the 18-34 age bracket, which is perhaps to be expected for any new technology.  As we’ve seen with social networks however, the baby boomers are quick to flock to something they perceive as valuable, which perhaps goes a long way to explaining why an increasing number of brands are looking to get in on the sharing economy.

The report explains how these companies won’t succeed unless they understand the drivers behind the success of the new economy.  It suggests that these core drivers are:

  • Less buying and more sharing requires companies to shift away from measuring success in terms of units sold as opposed to units used.  As you can imagine, this marks a substantial shift in business model for many companies.
  • Less consuming and more producing sees a clear alignment with the growth of the maker movement that is only going to be accentuated by the rise of 3D printing.  Companies such as Threadless are already thriving by providing a marketplace for customer designed products.  This will be a natural extension of that.
  • Less working and more freelancing is likely to see the Free Agent Nation finally emerge as a more substantial movement.  This provides a new environment, not only for sourcing talent, but also changes the competitive environment, with rivals increasingly coming from talented freelancers.
  • Less regulation and more risk will see some governments attempt to get to grips with the new environment as much as companies will.

With Jeremiah Owyang co-authoring the report, it is a predictably insightful look at this fascinating new approach to business.  Check out the report below.



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