The sharing economy – Maela Verschuren

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)

History

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.

buurman-buurman-mok-ladderMany 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)

Closing thoughts

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?

Reference list:

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

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3 thoughts on “The sharing economy – Maela Verschuren

  1. Overall good work. Your article is nice written and you did good research, however (because there is always something to improve) you do not give answer to all the questions I will be grading you on: I do miss the answer to the question where this trend is in the life cycle; could you add it? Also, you give several arguments to think on sharing economy as a messo trend (based on consumer needs or desires); but what is/are according to you the megatrend(s) behind it at this moment? You mention it “between the lines” however, since some people may defend that the sharing economy already is a megatrend, it would be better if you specifically point to the related megatrend. In that sense you have posed a nice closing question, I think it may lead to an interesting discussion.

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  2. The sharing economy that you described has been there for centuries. I think it comes from the trading system we used to have. Neighbours would trade their eggs and milk with each other, depending on what they produced.

    Nowadays people are big spenders. They want everything and they buy everything. This results in having to much stuff you actually don’t use. There are two options. You can throw it away, or sell it to someone else. The last option is the best in regard to saving the earth, trying to recycle and produce less waste.

    To answer your question, I think eventually there will be hotels that need to close, or taxi drivers who don’t have work anymore. I actually don’t think this is a bad thing. Over the last centuries, many jobs have disappeared due to the technology we have and the industrial revolution. With the sharing economy, there will be people that lose there jobs, but there is an option for them to join companies like AirBnb or Car2Go. Hotels can offer their rooms on AirBnb, and taxi drivers can work for Uber. In this way, these people can still practice their profession and there is less waste. So actually I think this trend is rather beneficial for many people.

    -Lilian Casson 15-09-’16-

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  3. Interested read, regarding your question, I do not think it will be a big problem that the sharing economy is going to be mega trend. It is easy to set up the sharing stuff for a large, busy city and many people who want to waste their money to get things temporary can be benefit from this.

    However, sharing economy could be kind of efficient system, including the dangerous situation. There will always be people out to abuse the system until it is going to be stable. Sharing is defined as the joint use of a resource or space. That means, if you have a problem with crimes such as vandalism or theft in the place shares the responsibility with others. It can be frustrating, but it is difficult to make sure to find person to be in charge of the problem.

    Therefore, like what you said, there will be hotels, construction markets and taxi companies that need to be closed. We need to decide the rules in order to keep the people safe. And we will need to have someone in charge of incident management and tactical command for each situation. Ultimately, I believe the sharing system such as Airbnb could be implemented into the society by the thing as it has proved to be safely, efficiently, and accurately, it would be great change would boost the economy.

    Written by Solji Kim

    Sources:

    Wikipedia (January 2013) “Sharing” Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharing

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