A piece of the pie: The sharing-economy is for everyone

The sharing economy is growing and it's open for everyone
27 July 2018

The future is shared, and this is a huge chunk of pie you’d want to get your hands on. Source: Shutterstock

The sharing economy is growing rapidly.

While actual numbers are a bit sparse, the United States Department of Commerce found that global revenues for the industry are expected to increase from US$15 billion in 2014 to US$335 billion by 2025.

Currently, the combined market value of Uber and Airbnb alone are already in excess of US$87.5 billion collectively. That’s more than six times the estimated market value in 2014.

Considering that’s just the two companies, it serves as an indication of how rapidly the market is growing.

There are many smaller players who are rapidly growing and finding their niche within the sharing economy. It’s not just limited to big players like Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft.

Globally, over 400 companies are powering the sharing economy, with more than US$23 billion raised across 17 different sectors. In comparison, less than a decade ago there were only around 40 companies, according to Boston Consulting Group.

From parking spaces to pet care services, the sharing economy is diversifying beyond just cars and property. Billions in capital funding are poured into the industry each year.

Take California based bike and scooter sharing startup Lime for example. It was valued at US$225 million, within a year of operation, reported TechCrunch. Putting into perspective, Uber’s valuation in 2011, about three years of operations, was only at US$60 million.

The rapid growth of these companies is in part due to the aggressive adoption of technology. This has enabled companies to reduce the cost of investment into assets and labor, by building a sharing network.

Not only that, consumers increasingly prefer a shared network. A BCG report found that the sharing economy attracts new customers who either do not have the means or prefer not to own a product.

Users also find greater economic value in a sharing economy, as they have access to better, and a greater variety of product and services.

In fact, a similar process is applicable to enterprises as well. Spanish company Taksee is a company that enables businesses to create what essentially is a ride-sharing app tailored to corporate travel needs.

“We don’t only integrate external services like taxis; we also integrate internal services like car sharing, internal shuttles, or other means of transport. If the client has a requirement, such as integration with HR processes, we ensure the app is customized according to employee needs,” Taksee CEO and Co-founder José María Cánovas told TechHQ in an exclusive interview.

Taksee’s success draws from the fact that they are not tied down by infrastructure, but instead is reliant on the available services, to find the best mode of transport available to companies. Cánovas said that the company is able to deliver services even in small towns or rural landscapes not usually served by larger players.

“We look for suppliers to that location, making us very flexible to aggregate the providers to the platform,” he added.

As the sharing economy continues to diversify, consumers can expect a lot more things to be shared. Already we are seeing sharing marketplaces for agricultural and construction equipment such as EquipmentShare, and Trringo.

It’s not farfetched to think we could borrow a projector to stream the FIFA world cup with a few taps on a mobile phone for the next season.

Taking a page out of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s book, “the future of Uber couldn’t be just about cars”, he told the Verge in an interview.

If the future of Uber isn’t just cars, the future for most companies does not lie in a single product either. There is much potential in this market, especially in the enterprise space; the one who dares to make the jump will have the last laugh.