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Media (R)evolutions: What’s the future of the sharing economy?

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

Globally, more and more people are embracing the sharing or platform economy. Some estimate that the sector’s revenues will increase to $335 billion globally by 2025. According to the Future Jobs Survey, conducted by the World Economic Forum, among top technological drivers of industrial change by 2020, the sharing economy, crowdsourcing takes the fifth place, with mobile internet, cloud technology taking the lead.

So what will the impact of these drivers be on the industries? Will there be new industries born as a result of these transformations? If so, will we be able and ready to respond to those changes? Will we have necessary skill sets to compete in the work force? Future holds both opportunities and challenges for industries, corporations, governments, and others concerned with the technological advancements.
What exactly is the sharing economy? Are you using some of its platforms? Do you benefit from their services? 

The sharing economy, sometimes called on-demand economy, peer-to-peer economy, platform economy, or collaborative economy, refers to the concept of companies linking individuals with assets with others who need a service provided. Usually these companies do not actually own assets, instead they act more like facilitators, providing an online platform for people to utilize these services. Some of the areas where the sharing economy has boomed include: 

  1. Transportation: Uber, Lyft, Yandex;
  2. Rental/leasing: Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Onefinestay, 9flat;
  3. Shop/office sharing: We are Pop Up, WeWork;
  4. Fashion: Yerdle, Rent the Runway.
Uber, for example, is reported to have 40 million monthly active riders worldwide, operating in 500 cities around the world. While Airbnb claims that it operates in 34,000 cities and 191 countries, with over 60 million total guests and over 2 million listings worldwide.
With such global reach, how will the sharing economy players impact emerging markets? According to the Multilateral Investment Fund (member of IDB Group), the sharing economy offers many opportunities to people in the developing world, as it can create jobs, promote entrepreneurship, and increase the sources of income. In fact, many in the emerging markets show willingness to participate in sharing communities:

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