Emerging Trends In The Shared Economy Space in 2017
The idea of sharing is as old as humans itself, perhaps, even older. Shared economy is built around the sharing of human and physical resources; including shared production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. In terms of a business, a sharing business either owns goods that they rent out to their consumers on a subscription basis or via a platform (usually, online) for providers and users to connect with each other for goods and services. This includes transportation services Ola and Uber or hospitality services like AirBnB or Oyo Rooms.
To include some benefits of the sharing economy, other than convenience, is the building is strong communities by sharing the goods and services, providing rental services to people who can't afford to enjoy buying of goods or to those who have no interest in long term usage; flexibility, self-reliance, independence and optimum utilisation of the resources to name a few. It also helps in saving costs because of the borrowing and recycling of assets and services.
Though the idea of a shared economy is in its nascent stages in India, people are excited to try out new things and experiences. And since most services are accessible online, it makes the whole transaction easy, seamless and cashless. The urban population of India - especially the millennials - find it convenient and cost effective to participate in a shared economy.
Having said that, however, shared economy as a way of life hasn't sunk into every stratum, every street, every Indian. For generations, we have been told that the metric for success was ownership. Owning land, a house, a vehicle (or multiple), gold etc. But today's urban generation is transient and far more certain of what they want and how they choose to spend their hard-earned money.
The number one trend that will emerge in 2017 is that the idea of a shared economy will fall in the consideration set of a consumer's mind. What this means is that we book a cab or rent furniture because it makes our life easier (avoid traffic, forgo the painful process of buying furniture or waiting for it) but we still have a long way to go before we come to the logical conclusion that in reality, we don't need to own cars, or furniture, or houses anymore. Because the alternative is hassle free, peaceful and flexible.
Converting a consideration set to a choice can only happen when shared economy prevails all around us and the truth is that this will take some more time since there are a lot of barriers to break - both behavioural and psychological.
In India, till date, the concept of shared economy has been impactful where physical assets are consumed as services (i.e transportation, hospitality) but, as the new world unfolds, a whole new range of services will be introduced to the shared economy such as cleaning, healthcare and other medical services.