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The Advent of the Sharing Economy

The struggling economy and job market around the world have given rise to a host of innovative startups that allow consumers to take matters into their own hands through various forms of bootstrapping. A growing number of consumers are bypassing conventional means of procuring goods, services and financing, and looking to each other for mutually beneficial, peer-to-peer solutions through a growing "sharing economy" based on collaborative consumption.

As Benita Matofska, founder and chief sharer of The People Who Share, explains, "Sharing is the smart way to use the things that you don't need, and to access the things that you do." An economy built on a common understanding of scarce resources, mutual trust and brilliantly engineered social networks, the collaborative consumption movement is disrupting outdated business models and reinventing what people consume and how they consume it. It has spawned dozens of services through which people can now share their unused cars (RelayRides), parking spaces (ParkatmyHouse), living space (Airbnb), office and workshop space (the Hub), and much more. The model benefits both lenders, who can earn supplementary income through sharing, and borrowers, who gains access to what they need without a long-term investment or commitment.

The emerging sharing economy worldwide is already estimated at $110 billion; as the movement continues to take hold, it is a trend traditional forms of business would do well to consider in order to remain relevant to an increasingly savvy market.

SB London
Benita Matofska will share her insights and inspiration, and highlight crucial ways the "sharing sector" will impact the global business community, in a plenary presentation on November 27, day one of our upcoming SB London conference.


Image credit: What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption (HarperBusiness, 2010)

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