The Sharing Economy Means Big Cash Ahead

By Steve Anderson May 27, 2016

It might seem like a misnomer, as the “sharing economy” has previously been thought to mean “getting stuff for free”. A new report from Juniper Research should dispel that notion, as it's projecting that, by 2020, the sharing economy's revenues are set to triple current levels and hit fully $20 billion annually.

With the “sharing economy” going well beyond music, movie and book sharing to include things like ride sharing, house sharing, and even job sharing, services like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit are poised for some big gains, according to the Juniper Research report. With sharing services poised to move into emerging markets, along with somewhat slower growth in the more established markets, this combination should drive some exciting returns for investors.

It's not just the currently-established sharing services that will make gains, though these will likely see some as well, particularly the comparatively recent personal services sharing sites like TaskRabbit. These solutions are likely to be popular thanks to their ability to take some simple chores off people's plates, and give them back some of that time in a day. Completely new sharing services are expected to crop up in fields like delivery and manufacturing.

GM has already been seen using what's called the FirstBuild platform, which uses “collaborative innovation” to build projects, some of which have already been put in consumer markets. Meanwhile, services like TechShop are starting to open up, giving new businesses access to manufacturing systems on a kind of time-sharing basis, which helps keep costs down despite a clear need to produce items. Throw in changes to currently-existing sharing platforms, like Uber's UberEATS system of food delivery, and that's going to spur further development.

The sharing economy has come a long way in a comparatively little amount of time. The notion that everything could be shared does sort of open up some opportunities, though it also has some less worthwhile issues involved.

While we all like the thought of being able to get access to a manufacturing operation to build our small-scale product launches, is it such a good thing to not own these things ourselves? Have we effectively traded the entrepreneurial spirit for something that's done only on a time-sharing basis? Admittedly, these are more philosophical than operational issues, and there's nothing stopping people from owning factories later on. In the short term being able to basically rent a factory for a while can be a great way to determine if a product line is viable before getting a massive loan and building an entire operation.

There are some issues with the sharing concept overall, but it's got plenty of benefit on its side. That is likely going to fuel further expansion as time goes on.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Writer

Related Articles

Mist Applies AI to Improve Wi-Fi

By: Paula Bernier    11/9/2017

Mist has created an AI-driven wireless platform that puts the user and his or mobile device at the heart of the wireless network. Combining machine le…

Read More

International Tech Innovation Growing, Says Consumer Technology Association

By: Doug Mohney    11/8/2017

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is best known for the world's largest trade event, but the organization's reach is growing far beyond the CE…

Read More

Broadcom Makes Unsolicited $130B Bid for Qualcomm

By: Paula Bernier    11/6/2017

In what could result in the biggest tech deal in history, semiconductor company Broadcom has made an offer to buy Qualcomm for a whopping $130 billion…

Read More

How Google's 'Moonshot' Could Benefit Industrial Markets

By: Kayla Matthews    10/30/2017

The term "moonshot" encapsulates the spirit of technological achievement: an accomplishment so ambitious, so improbable, that it's equivalent to sendi…

Read More

After Cisco/Broadsoft, Who's Next for M&A?

By: Doug Mohney    10/27/2017

Cisco's trail of acquisition tears over the decades includes the Flip video camera, Cerent, Scientific Atlantic, Linksys, and a couple of others. The …

Read More