The Sharing Economy: will this be the future?
Over the past years, the attitude towards consumption have shift and brought a increasing concern over sustainability. Despite of the succes of some sustainable initiatives, the overall trend follows the unsustainable path. That is why new approaches are needed. How can we solve this problem? What can firms do?
The development of information technologies and the growth of web 2.0 has enabled the development of online platforms. This online platforms promote user generated content, sharing and collaboration (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Examples are open source software, collaborative online encyclopedias (e.g. Wikipedia) and sites like YouTube and Instagram. All together we can call this the sharing economy. The sharing economy thus emerges from a number of technological developments that have simplified sharing of both physical and non-physical goods and services through the availability of various information systems on the Internet (Hamari, et al., 2015). According to Heinrichs (2013), this collaborative lifestyle will disrupt mainstream economies and consumerism, improve social cohesion, and contribute to the minimization of resource use.
Now a day, the world choose Uber over car ownership, Spotify over music ownership and Netflix over the movie ownership. This brought Michael Cassua (2015), founder of the startup ByeBuy, on an idea:”Ownership as a concept is becoming obsolete and it is really not necessary at all to own any of these items to enjoy cool gadgets. We are here to eliminate ownership of product goods and introduce a pay-as-you-go system instead.” This means that you can have unlimited acces to the newest technology like the new iPhone 6S or a Playstation game at lower costs (95% less than if you bought the item). You just have to pay a subscription fee. The consequence is, that you are not constantly engaged in buying and selling. You download the ByeBuy app, suppliers will give you stuff and afterwards you can give it back. So ByeBuy is an intermediary company in a sharing economy.
Overall, I think the sharing economic will benefit our world. This lifestyle will disrupt mainstream economies and consumerism, improve social cohesion, and contribute to the minimization of resource use. ByeBuy is a good example of an intermediary company in the electronic market that can disrupt industry structures.
Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., & Ukkonen, A. (2015). The sharing economy: Why people participate in collaborative consumption. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Heinrichs, H. (2013) Sharing Economy: A Potential New Pathway to Sustainability, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Faculty of Sustainability
Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business horizons, 53, 1, 59-68.
Wired (2015) ‘Startup of the week: ByeBuy’ http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-06/05/startup-of-the-week-byebuy, 14 September 2015