What’s The Trend:
Also known as the peer economy, the sharing economy trend points to a rise in collaborative consumption. People can provide a service or rent out a product they own and are not using through new companies that facilitate peer-to-peer transactions.
In this new economy, the traditional model of ownership is changing. The exchange of goods and services has been revolutionized, and people no longer have to own physical objects to have access to them. Collaborative consumption is a technology-driven change that has become a phenomenon through the increased use of mobile phones and social media.(8)
Companies typically have a rating/review system to ensure both parties in the transaction are trustworthy. Airbnb is perhaps the poster child for the sharing economy. Through this site, travelers can rent rooms or entire homes when visiting a new city which can prove cheaper than hotels, easier for groups and provide an experience tailored to the specific city. Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb states that the rise of the sharing economy allows anyone to become a micro-entrepreneur. He sees this economy creating village-like networks in cities, while bringing about a change in the way people trust and interact with their neighbors.(9)
Services in various sectors abound. DogVacay is a means for finding a dog babysitter at costs cheaper than a kennel. Getaround is a company that people can leave their car with when they’re out of town. Getaround cleans it, maintains it and rents it out while the owner is away. This company is covered by a $1 million insurance policy. Lyft, another service based around cars, creates a peer-to-peer ridesharing system. It’s like a taxi service but the driver is only able to take donations.(10)
This phenomenon has also been praised as an environmentally sustainable business model as it promotes more efficient use of resources.(11)
Why It Matters:
A resolution at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in June 2013 stated that in the sharing economy, “companies have proved to be engines of innovation and job creation, driving economic development in the hearts of American cities, where joblessness is still most pervasive.”(12) As the sharing economy continues to move into the mainstream and demand government recognition, opportunities for Hispanics emerge.
For one, Hispanics (like the general population) may benefit from the employment opportunities created as new services start up as well as from access to the services offered. Additionally, the sharing economy is also fueled by technology, mobile phones and social media. Hispanics, being highly active social media users, are likely to participate and benefit from the sharing economy model. Opportunities exist to create Spanish-language peer-to-peer transactional services that open the door for the greater Hispanic population to actively engage.
8. MCT Information Services. (2013, August). “’Sharing Economy’ Takes Step Toward Mainstream.” Hispanic Business. http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/8/9/sharing_economy_takes_steps_toward_mainstream.htm.
9. Friedman, Uri. (2014, June). “Airbnb CEO: Cities Are Becoming Villages.” The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/06/airbnb-ceo-cities-are-becoming-villages/373676/#show-last-Point.
10. “Airbnb, Snapgoods and 12 More Pioneers Of the ‘Share Economy.’” (2014). Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ehfk45edlgh/getaround-6/.
11. MCT Information Services. (2013, August). “’Sharing Economy’ Takes Step Toward Mainstream.” Hispanic Business. http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/8/9/sharing_economy_takes_steps_toward_mainstream.htm.
12. MCT Information Services. (2013, August). “’Sharing Economy’ Takes Step Toward Mainstream.” Hispanic Business. http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/8/9/sharing_economy_takes_steps_toward_mainstrea