The sharing economy
The sharing economy is where assets owned by members of a network can be temporarily accessed by other members of the network, generally through an online platform. This differs from traditional businesses, whereby goods and services are owned by a single owner and then rented to the public. Because of this difference, sharing economy companies often escape industry regulations. The two most common examples of the sharing economy are the sharing of private vehicles via ride-sharing apps such as Uber, and the sharing of private residences through accommodation websites – predominantly Airbnb, which has truly global presence. Coworking, where workers from different organizations can access a common office space, is also considered part of the sharing economy.
The growth predicted above assumes that the sharing economy retains its position outside of industry regulations – something that is not certain. For example, a growing majority of citizens in Canada believe that Uber should be regulated in the same way as taxis, which would raise licensing and staffing costs. This would of course increase the cost to the consumer. However, the lower cost is the leading benefit consumers see from sharing services.