Five Years of The Sharing Economy: A Look at Its Impact and Future

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Five years into it, the Sharing Economy — and the $15.7 billion that’s been poured into it — hasn’t completely transformed most parts of the American economy. People still get hired for 40 hour weeks, and people still order goods and services via traditional means. And reviews aren’t written for everything.

But in certain industries, The Sharing Economy –aka “On Demand,” “Gig Economy” and “Collaborative Consumption”– has had a definitive impact, just like CraigsList did on P2P classifieds. In Las Vegas, for instance, revenue per cab has fallen 50 percent since Uber and Lyft’s entry to the market in September 2015. Uber and Lyft have attracted more than 12,000 Las Vegas drivers.

In general, while investment in Uber, Lyft and AirBnB has dominated, the Sharing Economy’s rise is also poised to impact other segments that rely on hourly temp workers, such as home services, delivery, insurance and medical services. At ShopTalk in Las Vegas, CB Insights analyst Matt Wong cited research showing that Sharing Economy concepts have become a sizeable influencer of buying decisions. Nineteen percent of adults now participate in some aspect of the Sharing Economy – a rate that has doubled in three years.

Wong also found that The Sharing Economy has sharply impacted work practices – disproportionately so for Millennials, which represent 68% of Sharing Economy gigs. He also said that the commonplace idea of the Uber driver moonlighting one or two other jobs isn’t always the case. CB Insights found that roughly 50 percent of sharing economy workers tally less than 25 hours a week (and 50 percent tally more than 25 hours.)

In a broad sense, where The Sharing Economy goes from here probably depends on how pervasive its concepts are on human resources (i.e. paid vacations etc.). Longer term, we’ll look for industry shifts, especially for travel and transportation. Wong noted that GM, Hertz, BMW, Volvo, Audi, Tata and G-AC have each invested heavily in shared ride services, anticipating that the next market for their cars will be less focused on individual users. GM, for instance, has recently invested $500 Million into Lyft. Separately, Toyota and Volkswagen have announced large investments in Uber and Gett.

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