What is the sharing economy? Definition of the sharing economy. Find out some examples and figures on the sharing economy.

Sharing Economy Definition

The sharing economy is also known as the collaborative economy. It is based on pooling and exchanging services, resources, goods, time, knowledge and skills. Currently going through a strong expansion, the sharing economy privileges horizontal organizations and structures rather than vertical and hierarchical ones. It has economic cornerstones such as the reduction of expenses and the limitation or elimination of intermediaries. Still, it strongly relies on social and ecological values and it’s also based on the belief that using is more important than owning or possessing.

According to a report from EY, the sharing economy activities can be divided into 4 broad categories: recirculation of goods, increased utilization of durable assets, exchange of services and sharing productive assets.
Moreover, the sharing economy’s quick development is straightly connected to the development of the internet and technology. Together, they allowed the creation of networks and communities via dedicated platforms and apps.

The Sharing Economy: Examples

definition sharing economy

Provisioning Goods And Resources – An Example Of The Sharing Economy

Carpooling, of which BlaBlaCar is an emblematic leader, is a key illustration of the sharing economy. It mixes resource’s sharing, ecology, and social connections. Traditional examples include sharing washing machines, parking spaces or room spaces (Airbnb). Today, the new normal is sharing bikes, (electric) scooters or even cars (drivenow)

Exchanging Services And Skills’ Pooling – An Example Of The Sharing Economy

This approach to the sharing economy is about exchanging services or skills. For instance, one can repair someone’s computer but instead of paying cash for this service, the payment will be an exchange for, let’s say, some free yoga classes. Someone needed gardening advice that offers he’s painting skills or having German lessons in exchange for surf lesson…  The possibilities are infinite.

Co-working spaces are a successful example of skills sharing. By having a variety of freelancers, medium-small companies or civil society organizations working under the same room it gets easier to exchange skills. A sustainability consultancy firm might, for instance, offer advice to an e-commerce startup that in exchange mentions them as partners and increases their SEO. A civil engineer freelancer working on a construction project might ask a circular economy expert for advice on compostable materials and in exchange help with his coding skills. Again, the possibilities of exchanging know-how are infinite.

Crowdfunding – An Example Of The Sharing Economy

This example of the sharing economy, via specialized internet platforms, allows individuals to support the realization of someone else’s project by doing a financial contribution, pre-purchasing a product or investing capital.

The Sharing Economy: Some Insights

sharing economy definition crowdfunding

  • The sharing economy and the traditional rental sector projected revenue opportunity in 2025 is of USD $670 million
  • While the sharing economy sector had 5% of the market in 2013, it is projected to have 50% in 2025
  • PWC estimated that car and room sharing, crowd-funding, personal services, and video and audio streaming may reach USD $335 billion by 2025.
  • 78% of consumers are aware that the shared economy allows a waste reduction
  • According to a 2016 study, collaborative consumers are motivated by many factors such as sustainability, enjoyment of the activity and economic (money and time) benefits

Definition Of Collaborative Consumption

Collaborative consumption considers the economy of sharing from the consumer’s point of view. It refers to a way of consuming where using is more important than having. Is this based on the argument that collaborative consumption reduces expenses with environmental and social concerns such as the fight against waste and overproduction

[Images credits to crowdsourcing on Shutterstock, sharing economy on Shutterstock and carpooling on Shutterstock]