Mesotrend – The sharing economy – Maela Verschuren – 09-08-2016
Some products you just don’t use often. For example an apartment someone has bought in Paris but doesn’t live there all year. The apartment will only be used in the summer, so why wouldn’t the owner of the apartment share it with someone who need a stay in Paris when he is not there? I am talking about AirBnb and there are many more other sharing companies. There are more ways to be conscious with your products or services, like giving away, exchange or buying second hand. The mesotrend I want to discuss with you is the sharing economy.
What is the sharing economy?
The sharing economy, also named as peer-to-peer economy is about people sharing their products and services with others. The sharing economy is not completely new, but through internet the products are easier to find or offer. Supply and demand are coming together, so there is no more need for intermediaries. You do not have to think about a hotel when you rent an apartment by AirBnb.
The idea of the sharing economy is based on the fact that you have access to a product or service instead of owning it. Havas Worldwide and Market Probe questioned 10,574 people (above 16 years) in 29 markets what their feelings are about consumerism in relation to economic growth and their own personal happiness. (Warc, 2014) 52% of the people said that they could live happily without the majority of the things they things they own. 20% disagree and the remain respondents did not have a judgement. (Warc, 2014)
Pieter van de Glind, owner of ShareNL, thinks that the sharing economy is not a new thing. “In former times neighbors also borrowed their tools from each other. Even the library is an example from where we share.” (Sprout, September 2014) Through internet and apps the sharing economy is back in another way.
Many people said that the sharing economy is a hype. Before May 2012 there was no one who searched for the term ‘sharing economy’ in Google. (R. Buisman, March 2016) After 2012 there where some peaks and valleys and now it is not a hype anymore but an fundamental part of our economy. It has become a way of life: when you need new books for school and you do not want to pay too much, you can buy them second hand on bol.com. And when your bike is stolen you can rent a public transport bicycle or a car from Car2Go.
I think this mesotrend is at this moment between stage 3: Early Majority and stage 4: Late Majority. Everybody has at least heard once of the sharing economy, even if they don’t want to share. The sharing economy is still growing and there are still new companies popping up.
Why would you share or borrow?
Another thing that is new is sharing with strangers: maybe you do not even see the person who is borrowing your apartment. But through internet and apps the borrower and divisor are coming together. I think we have to thank technology (megatrend) for the easy sharing online. Borrowing means that there is less need for producing products (Consumentenbond, n.d.) This is good for the environment and there is less need for transport.
In the survey from Havas Worldwide and Market Probe said 32% of the respondents that it is an inexpensive way to save money, 13% said that they feel active and useful when they not buying something new or share their products with others, another 13% said that they feel good about borrowing to reduce their consumption, 9% say that they borrow to support individuals of small companies, 8% just want to try something new and different than anyone else and 6% does it to meet new people. (Warc, 2014)
Now you have the option: buy or borrow? Own or share? The reason why I borrow and want to borrow more is because it is a cheap way to own things temporarily. Companies want to give you the feeling that you desire their products and then I buy products when I am in an impulsive mood, while actually not needing them as much as I thought.
Another thought is that it will be more difficult for, as an example, hotels to keep guests with AirBnb as a competitor. What if the sharing economy is going to be an mega trend? Should hotels, construction markets and taxi companies need to be closed? What do you think that will happen when the sharing economy keeps growing?
Buisman, R. (2016, March 26). [Deel 4] Uitgelegd & Uitgelicht: De deeleconomie. Retrieved from http://marketingtribune.nl/b2b/weblog/2016/03/deel-4-uitgelegd-uitgelicht-de-deeleconomie/
Consumentenbond. (n.d.). Delen en lenen met andere consumenten. Retrieved from https://www.consumentenbond.nl/duurzaam-consumeren/deeleconomie
Warc. (2014). The new consumer and the sharing economy. Retrieved from http://www.warc.com.www.dbproxy.hu.nl/Content/ContentViewer.aspx?MasterContentRef=5d712bc8-2ee2-42b3-901b-7b1c5e37e3d6&q=share+economy&CID=A101837&PUB=EURORSCG
Sprout. (2014, September 12). Sharing economy: samen spelen, samen delen. Retrieved from http://www.sprout.nl/artikel/events/sharing-economy-samen-spelen-samen-delen#close-popup