Sharing Economy Showdown: The Airbnbs of the World Will Be Bigger Than the Ubers by 2019, Report Says

Juniper Research compares the growth of two segments of the exploding sharing economy.

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By Catherine Clifford

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The Airbnbs of the world are on track to overtake the Ubers of the world in the next three years.

That's according to new research from the U.K.-based industry research firm, Juniper Research.

Shared space companies -- including both platforms where individuals can share residential space such as Airbnb and shared corporate space companies such as WeWork -- are on track to be worth $6.1 billion by 2019, according to estimates from Juniper Research. In the same period, shared transportation companies -- including the likes of Uber and Lyft -- are expected to reach $5.8 billion in the same period.

That may feel a wee surprising for readers in the U.S., where Uber seems to be taking over the world in a fashion not unsimilar to the way The Blob takes over the Earth in the 1988 movie.

Related: Lyft's First National TV Ad Makes a Statement About Ridesharing. It Also Reminds Us TV Still Matters.

The price point is a factor of the growth in the respective industries, says Lauren Foye, a research analyst at Juniper, in a phone call with Entrepreneur. It's less expensive to pay for a ride across town than it is to pay for a long weekend stay in somebody's home.

"Whilst ridesharing platforms have millions of journeys made, these tend to be shorter journeys and the pricing is far lower than to stay in an Airbnb room when people are staying for a matter of days," says Foye.

Shared space companies are extremely popular in China and Western Europe. Also, Japan was the fastest growing market for Airbnb last year, notes Foye. Globally, the Airbnbs of the sharing economy are strong and growing more dominant. At the same time, Uber has had a hard time taking over, Blob-style, in China, Foye points out.

"Uber has not necessarily established itself in China, whereas with the space industry, we know that on a global scale, it has done very well," says Foye. "In 2014, Airbnb saw over 55 percent of its listings in Europe alone and this has then carried on and it has become a global business."

Related: Uber and Lyft Will Collaborate With Public Transportation So You Don't Have to Own a Car

Going forward, Uber is already showing signs of diversification. It's not going to keep all of its eggs in the ridesharing basket. The San Francisco-based tech company is making strides in the food delivery business with UberEATS and the logistics space with UberRUSH, points out Foye.

"Uber is not just hedging its bets on the transport industry per say, it's also looking to evolve its business," says Foye. "But we are also seeing Airbnb looking at providing for businesses travelers, so I think we will see greater growth through that as well."

Even as the space and transport industries are in neck-and-neck race for which is the most dominant force in the sharing economy, one thing is for sure: Taken together, the $12 billion force of Airbnb, Uber and all of the related competitors are fundamentally revolutionizing how humans travel and live.
Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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