consider the opportunities in the sharing economy

$31 billion – the value of Air BNB in 2017

This is the tenth of 20 daily ‘thoughts’ examining the trends in marketing in 2018 and beyond.
Most of us use the sharing economy. Most consumers in 2018 have used:
  • Air BNB
  • Uber
  • Air Tasker
  • Rate Setter
  • Freelancer
  • Spacer

If we have not used these, we have used one of the other thousands of sharing economy businesses available through a range of websites and Apps.

The sharing economy is booming and with good reason. The sharing economy, or more specifically sharing economy businesses:

  • Address increasing concerns about sustainability
  • Tend to promote under-utilised resources
  • Empower consumers
  • Play into the increasing concerns about big business

In addition, many sharing economy businesses such as Airbnb can be developed at a fraction of the cost of a traditional business. In 2017, Airbnb was valued at US$31 billion – a similar value to Marriot International, which cost many more millions of dollars and many more decades to develop.

Illustrating the growth of the sharing economy, the dollars raised for sharing economy ventures in the United States were as follows:

  • 2016 – $23.4 billion
  • 2013 – 1.74 billion
  • 2007 – $43 million

By any measure, this growth is staggering and there is nothing to suggest that it will not continue. My firm view is that it will continue as innovation occurs in a range of sectors.

The sharing economy provides fertile ground for innovative business people to develop new businesses or ideas. There are numerous resources that are underutilised, and consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with sharing rather than owning.

The sharing economy will continue to leverage opportunities in the B2C and B2B environments, the sale of goods and services, all sectors of the economy, and all industry categories.


Keep a close eye on the sharing economy and the potential to exploit underutilised resources. This will provide an opportunity to develop a business idea that takes advantage of the growing acceptance that using a good or service does not require ownership of that good or service.

Five years ago, who would have thought that Uber Eats would be ubiquitous, consumers would be renting out a spare room for cash, professional services would be sourced through Expert360 rather than a big 4 accounting firm, and so on.

The sharing economy has gone from being anathema to our lifestyles to a central element of our lifestyle. It is a reflection of the move away from ownership among members of the younger generations and businesses alike.


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