Collaborative Economy’s Growth Brings Challenges, Opportunities

Technology is fueling the growth of the collaborative, or sharing, economy, allowing peers to trade goods and services, and boosting startups like Uber, Airbnb and others. Research from customer intelligence provider Vision Critical shows that 51 percent of U.S. internet users participated in the sharing economy in 2015, and that by 2017, eight in 10 Americans will be taking part.

Vision Critical’s report, The New Rules of the Collaborative Economy, conducted with Crowd Companies, a council focused on the collaborative economy movement, says that more than 110 million North Americans are now part of the collaborative economy and participation grew by 25 percent in the past year. For most people, they found, financial savings are the primary driver, with 82 percent of sharing transactions partially motivated by price.

“It’s clear that this new form of consumption and exchange is not only here to stay, it’s changing what customers expect from all businesses,” says Jeremiah Owyang, founder of Crowd Companies. “But even as the collaborative economy has taken off, it’s been plagued by recurring criticisms. Some of the top players in the market—brands like Uber and Craigslist, and even peer-based Bitcoin—now face significant negative sentiment. The bigger they get, the more they’re vulnerable to a backlash from consumers who’ve had bad experiences, or observers who worry about the impact on employment, taxes or safety. To that end, with this year’s deep-dive report, we’ve looked at the opportunities the collaborative economy offers to established businesses and how to successfully combat, complement and compete with sharing startups.”

Every area of the collaborative economy is attracting greater participation, the report finds, with pre-owned goods, custom products, professional services, online learning, personal services, transportation services, places to stay and crowdfunding each attracting at least 10 percent of the North American population in the past year. Participation doubled across transportation services, places to stay, crowdfunding and office space with categories including professional services, loaner products, custom products and personal services growing 60-80 percent.

Download the report here to read more about the growth of the collaborative economy.

filed under industry-news | october-2015
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