2016 Sharing Economy Trends: The Experts Weigh InBillee Howard
What’s even more interesting is the idea that sharing is not just driving commerce but also culture. We see this everywhere from the co-creation of products by companies and consumers, to the new platform driven ecosystems that are driving tomorrow’s innovation, like GE’s Industrial Internet model Predix.
It seems fair consequently to say that we have undeniably entered an age of collaborative consumption and We-Commerce, once which is not a trend or fad, but rather vital economic engine powering our future.
Following is a compendium of thoughts from top collaborative economy experts on what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.
1 – Billee Howard: @MashupTweet
The sharing economy will continue to explode but will move away from the notion of “altruism” to profiting for the many and not the few. We will see a continued push towards sharing business ecosystems that embrace the we instead of the me and provide value and benefit to the communities they operate in as a whole.
This idea of businesses benefiting themselves, the consumers they serve, and local people seeking freelance employment, will become more evident and an obvious sign of the permanence of our new Uber X economy.
The sharing economy will also continue to identify new untapped pockets of opportunity that can benefit from sharing and also potentially serve a greater or “social” purpose. Nimber which seeks to facilitate the ability to transport and deliver cargo of all shapes and sizes based on currently available “unused” space is a great example of this trend. It is also offers great insight into the type of offerings we will see a maturing sharing economy crank out in the weeks and months ahead.
2 – Jeremiah Owyang: @jowyang
Funding by VCs will continue to increase, but the rate will slow compared to 2015’s glut of money. Startups need to fill their war chest for global adoption, acquisition and to influence regulatory bodies. Last year, in 2015, funding was a whopping $14B, up from $8B in 2014. This means that the one percenters will continue to take ownership stakes in the popular global sharing tech platforms. In 5-10 years, they’ll need their money returned, forcing monetization of the platform, people, and products shared.
With this said, we’ll start to see a shakeout of these platforms that are unable to contend with the highly funded players. Additionally, these highly funded tech startups are spreading into other sectors and domains: Airbnb will move into home automation, and Uber and Lyft are gearing up for self-driving fleets, further displacing workers, and I’d expect on-demand home delivery services to experiment with drones. Or course, this means “gig workers” and freelancers are further displaced by powerful tech platforms, and robots who can do the job better, faster, cheaper –without threat of worker’s comp lawsuits.
The Sharing Economy is becoming mainstream, though the majority of the users are still the highly educated people – the top of the social pyramid. Governments and city councils regulate this sector more and more with a positive mindset, as has happened in a.o. France, UK, Amsterdam and is planned for in Italy allowing a growing under utilized workforce of micro-entrepreneurs to enter the Sharing Economy. This alongside and as part of a steadily growing debate on providing people a ‘basic income’. Sharing Economy companies will be linked and measured to their Social Impact as a Benefit Corporation. This ‘social enterprise’ entity is now also legalized as a BCorp outside the US in Italy and quickly spreading in Europe.
Airbnb will segment its policies in ‘buy-for-rent’ and ‘micro-entrepreneur’ homeowners. Uber shareholders will start to understand that their nowadays business on the long term will be taken over by providers of self-driven cars. Facebook and Google wil enter the Sharing Economy arena. APIs to link content of sharing platforms to other (incumbent) platforms will grow creating a demand for standardization and ‘mobile-first’ will be the way to go to develop a sales and contact channel. Tech platforms continue to learn that building a brand is not the same as developing a platform.
4 – Benita Matofska: @benitamatofska
The emergence of the Real Sharing Economy — a system built around the sharing of resources with social purpose at the heart: this year we will see more mission driven companies, social enterprises develop apps / products and services that serve people and planet. These companies will develop new types of organisations where power and value are shared, where people and planet benefit. Charity involvement – we’ll also see growing charity engagement in the Sharing Economy – where large, established charities and nonprofits as well as smaller ones, develop Sharing Economy products and services. We’ll also see more applications of the SE in the developing world and used during crises.
Discovery and Mainstreaming — the SE isn’t mainstream yet, but this year will see an opening up of the SE with many millions more people discovering and engaging in it. Initiatives like Global Sharing Week via thepeoplewhoshare.com which runs from June 5th-11th reached over 100 million people around the world last year and this year expects to reach over 150 million.Corporate Engagement & Business of Sharing — the SE is becoming the most significant business trend, changing the way companies operate. 2016 will see more large companies engaging in the SE and more data demonstrating the economic value and significant profits generated by doing so. Businesses will also recognise the social and environmental value of SE approaches.
5 – John Chang: @iamjohnchang
Let’s be clear, there are differences in what sharing and on-demand vs. gig economy is about. I believe in an Sharing Economy such as Uber, and Airbnb as it truly trumps the norm and disrupts the major industries. It can be said, it gives consumers more power to choose. Sharing is such things as sharing a car, or home, or renting out certain properties. That’s what truly sharing is. The On-Demand Economy is a separate animal and this is where I do most of my research.
The on-demand economy, Uber for “X” models entrepreneurs is hot right now, but we will see a cooling off period later this year, as venture capitalists will invest more in platform based models. Companies like thumbtack with its characteristics will do better by far than say, Wag, Numi, Pikkup, etc. Very niche particular services in theory and concept is great. Consumer behavior isn’t picking up the model. These companies have / will burn through their capital and much harder to get series A round, if that. We will see companies like door dash, and food delivery suffer as well. It’s very simple, the on-demand economy can only work with people as workers. Workers according to JPMorgan Chase Co., on the on demand economy shows that workers only supplement up to $500 in lost income. This means they are not moving up to middle class they are staying where they are and not making significant or notable lifestyle changes.
Recruiting workers will continue to be challenge for companies, and they will have to burn through a lot of “signup”. OnDemand/Sharing Economy will disrupt Linkedin, Yelp. See my article here: http://ondemandeco.com/demo/3-major-businesses-that-needs-to-catchup-to-on-demand-economy (think of the aging population and the millenials who don’t even touch Linkedin. it’s a paradigm shift from industrial age thinking to the new age. These young folks can’t stand corporate jobs.
Conclusion: in 20 years we won’t have a sharing economy let alone on-demand economy if entrepreneurs continue to find niche models purely for business/profit basis. We have to come up with solutions that advance humanity for this space to grow.
6 – Alex Stephany: @alexmstephany
I just returned from a trip to the most beautiful rat-infested mess in the world, New York City. I was there to meet a bunch of interesting startups but one of the most interesting insights came from an Uber driver. He had recently joined a new ridesharing platform: Juno. Juno’s USP is simply that it will treat its drivers well. Founded by ex-Viber founder, Talmon Marco, it promises to charge less than half the commission of Uber and to reserve 50% of the company stock for the drivers. My Uber driver was being paid $50 a week to keep the Juno app open until its official launch and told me all his driver friends are signing up. Uber should not underestimate the fickleness of its drivers. Almost all will jump ship the moment they can earn an easier dollar elsewhere. The vast majority of sharing economy marketplaces live and die by the quality and quantity of their supply. 2016 will be the year that the supply side of these marketplaces flexes its muscles, gets more organized, and wins more concessions than ever before. Many of these concessions relate to the classification of workers as contractors rather than employees. Currently, independent contractors do not get a minimum wage, health insurance benefits, workers’ compensation or any unemployment benefits.
No question – sharing economy workers enjoy a flexibility that is unknown to regular employees. However, concessions to these workers will arrive across the sharing economy this year as a result of class actions and negotiations with the platforms. Last year Shyp agreed to make its delivery workers employees. Then this January, while confirming that its drivers remain independent contractors, Lyft agreed to roll out benefits such as greater protection from deactivation by Lyft and the right to arbitration. A class action of Uber drivers is also pushing for employee rights from Uber and goes to court in June.
Some of the improved conditions for these workers will come top-down from legislators who will begin to take action to protect this class of worker. Indeed, there’ll be a growing school of thought that a third class of worker is required: a contractor who is tied overwhelmingly to one company and deserves a limited form of the protections that full-time employees enjoy. And what of the US election this November that may set the regulatory agenda in the sharing economy for the rest of the world? With a Republican in the White House, many of the low-wage illegal immigrants may be deported, forcing up scarcity of low-skilled labour and thus their leverage. And with a Democrat, new labour rights and unionisation may ensue – Hillary Clinton has already been outspoken about the vulnerability of many sharing economy workers. We live in interesting times.
7 – Esther Martos: @esther_prague
The sharing economy is becoming a real alternative to traditional systems. In this time in which more than ever societies need to rethink their way of consuming, collaborative markets bring an interesting way of exchange and the reuse of existing things. In this 2016 I augur and important progressive change based on new technologies and online features that will facilitate the use of p2p platforms. For instance, Facebook is constantly adding new settings to allow users to buy and sell things, exchange knowledge etc. From a social network to an online market place.
In addition, in the following years we will see a much more connected sharing economy. That means a huge open network in which known web pages as LinkedIn, tweeter, Facebook will engage in certain way p2p platforms performing an important part on it. As we can see nowadays it is common to log in via Facebook, find the nearest shared car via Google Maps or pay via Bitcoin. That will be increased along the next years.
Also, the fact the social networks, journals, events, conferences, articles and many other resources are spreading the voice is becoming an important booster.
I am just worried about legitimization and legal concerns, governments and traditional markets are placing many barriers in order to slow down the sharing economy. Many persons see this new economy as the way to dodge taxes, something that in my opinion, gives it a not so good reputation. I see the sharing economy as the result of innovation without permission. (something that I personally find very interesting) I hope that in this year, governments, organizations and professionals will come together aiming to legitimize the good practices of the Sharing Economy, (the planet will appreciate it)
8 – Andrew Carlone: @LiveCoralLife
On-demand apps are a compliment to peer-to-peer platforms. While living in Airbnb’s for 100 days straight, Lyft, Instacart, and WeWork allowed us to explore new cities each month while being productive.
There is a small but growing community of digital nomads who live and work all over the world. The quality of life is higher and monthly expenses are lower. Companies like Automattic ($1.16B) has 250 full-time across 35 countries, and 190 cities and 1 in 5 Americans work from home.
As more Millennials join the workforce, the convergence of on-demand apps and peer-to-peer platforms will make location independence more accessible. Regulation will take shape after a few major cities lay down model legislation. On-demand apps and the Sharing Economy are here to stay.
Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce released in December 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!
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