As a result of the constantly increasing population (current growth rate is 1.1% annually worldwide), and the ease and speed to which technology makes it possible to connect with people, the sharing economy is becoming a rapidly growing trend.
It seems we have hit a tipping point in which popular demand has shifted from ownership to functionality.
During a TedTalks speech in 2010, Rachel Botsman hit the nail on the head when she asked her audience who owned drills, then claimed that their drills would only be used for 12-13 minutes during its ownership. She then pointed out the false notion of necessity many of us may have by stating that “what you need is the hole, not the drill.”
Though “back in the day” neighbors would have been open to Botsman’s idea of sharing their power tools, if we look just a decade back, it would’ve been insane to think a person would share their home with complete strangers. Yet today, thousands of rooms in residential homes are rented everyday through apps, most commonly Airbnb.
Others following the “share” ideology are companies like the clothes-swapping Rehash and tool rental Zilok, who have managed to turn owned items into service-income opportunities.
In addition to the economic and social benefits of sharing, the trend has obvious positive environmental impacts. Especially when thinking of how the sharing economy has been affecting transportation.
“According to the latest WHO data, air quality in urban areas was 8 percent worse in 2013 than it was in 2008 and the number of cars is set to double globally by 2030. There will be two billion vehicles driving on roads around the world, something that our environment simply can’t sustain.” – Ayoub Moutiya, Co-Founder and CEO at Paparide Network, a platform that allows users to rent out and share their personal vehicles.
“In the coming years these services will no longer be just conveniences. Rather, engaging in the sharing economy will be a necessity,” reported Moutiya.
An additional benefit of the emerging collaborative consumption systems is that they are built on reputation-based platforms where vendors and users can put their trust in review systems. “Trust is a new social currency, that could become as powerful as our credit rating,” according to Botsman’s TedTalk.
As the trend gains momentum, it continues to challenge established industry giants, aiding the rise of a new economy based on sharing, rather than enriching the wealthy 1%.