A sharing economy is an economic system where assets or services are divided between individuals free or at a fee, mostly over the internet. It has really taken off in recent years with advances in technology and easy access to the internet. Australians have not been left behind and are embracing the shared economy in their daily lives.
Research from peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter shows that about 68% of Australians now earn or spend money through the sharing economy. The sharing economy has rapidly grown in the last one and a half years from $14.5 billion to over $15.1 billion according to current estimates, with a projected growth of up to $55 billion by 2021.
So what are the upsides?
Access to self-employment possibilities
Collaborative consumption has created endless opportunities to earn extra income. People can now make money from home over the internet thanks to the growth of online jobs, use their car to earn extra income by driving for Uber, or profit from setting up an online store on Amazon or eBay.
Huge savings while sustaining the same lifestyle
Gone are the days when you couldn’t conveniently travel unless you owned a car. Nowadays, with the help of ride-sharing apps, you can summon a driver to your doorstep and move around comfortably just like a car owner, but way cheaper. You can also hire a car for any occasion, whether it’s a camping trip or an executive meeting on a platform such as Car Next Door. Do you want to dress in designer clothes without breaking the bank? No problem. You can rent a custom fitted authentic designer outfit for any occasion on Flyrobe and have it delivered to your door!
Easy access to capital
Traditionally, the only way startups could get capital was by borrowing from financial institutions. However, the banks always saw startups as high-risk borrowers, and were often turned away. All this has changed with the emergence of crowdfunding, which has become a popular way to raise capital by connecting people in need with those willing to give. This way, the entrepreneur receives enough capital to fund the startup, and the donor gets the satisfaction of helping out and a stake in a potentially lucrative venture.
What is it that Australians are sharing?
Airbnb is a platform that acts as a broker between homeowners and people looking for short-term accommodation. Homeowners can rent out anything from a spare room to an entire home (even a funky, retro caravan or a tree-house!). This arrangement is advantageous to both parties since the lessor gets to earn extra income, while the lessee receives a unique living experience; living like a local, enjoying local customs and culture, and homely accommodation for an affordable price. Say goodbye to pokey hotels and their sneaky hidden costs like wifi, parking and room service!
Airtasker, a Sydney based company, is an online marketplace that allows users to outsource daily tasks. Users describe the work that they have and the allocated budget. They then start receiving offers from available taskers and choose from the pool of applicants. Airtasker was founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Jonathan Lui and Tim Fung and has over 2 million users. Though the founders remain tight-lipped on whether they are turning a profit, their plans to expand outside Australia in 2018 suggest that business is not so bad.
Uber shook up the transport industry and revolutionised the way we travel after American businessman Travis Cordell Kalanick founded it in 2010. The ride-sharing service provider has faced protests and resistance at every turn especially from taxi drivers, but it has still managed to thrive mainly because of the convenience and fair pricing it offers its customers. Uber has faced stiff competition from similar taxi-hailing apps that have emerged after its launch, but it looks like it’s here to stay since it has already captured a huge market segment. The customers are the real winners in this competition since it has resulted in reduced fares and improved service.
Car Next Door
Car Next Door is an Australian peer-to-peer car rental service that allows individuals to rent out their private vehicles to other borrowers registered on the platform, on an hourly or daily basis. Currently it is available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The company addresses the lack of trust that would discourage vehicle owners from sharing their cars by vetting everyone that registers on the platform. They also provide a feedback system to report vehicle condition and borrower behaviour, insurance cover for both the car owners and borrowers, GPS tracking and 24/7 roadside assistance. This platform has allowed the car borrowers to affordably experience the comfort and convenience of owning a vehicle while allowing the car owners to earn extra income from their cars.
So much has changed since our mobile phones evolved into tiny, powerful, internet-connected computers that we take with us everywhere. The future is exciting, and we can’t wait to find out what else we’ll be able to share next. If you’re not doing it already, why not try the new economy of sharing!
Disclosure statement: I love to share and the opinions above are all my mine. All statistics were researched. The links within this article are my own affiliate links from sharing services I personally use and recommend. So go-ahead and click them, if you’re new to any of these platforms, you’ll get a credit on your account to get started (and I’ll get a little bump in my own). Why not start by sharing this article?