Shalee Boey & Ye Wang
From strangers to neighbours, the sharing economy is fundamentally changing the traditional notions of ownership and consumption to a collaborative culture, resource-efficient, and community-driven living.
What is The Sharing Economy?
The sharing economy aims to redistribute existing goods (e.g., tools, cars) across the population in order to maximise their functionality. Within sharing economies, there can be monetary exchange (e.g., Airbnb, BlaBlaCar), or the exchange can be altruistic (e.g., Timebanking, CouchSurfing) (Miguel, Martos-Carrión, & Santa, 2022).
eBay pioneered the sharing economy business model 20 years ago and has become one of the most trusted marketplaces where buyers and sellers all over the world meet and exchange goods. Just as Airbnb does not own any rental properties and Uber does not own any cars, eBay does not own any of the inventory it sells. This model of taking a cut of each transaction on a global scale over the internet is very powerful and profitable for the middle man.
Airbnb could be seen both as an instance of platform and of sharing economy, possibly due to the mixed nature of the accommodations it offers – spanning from entire properties that can be instantly booked (akin to platform economy services), to shared rooms in a flat (akin to sharing economy services).
Uber is one of the best-known examples of a sharing economy model at work. A rider opens the Uber app and enters their destination. That rider is matched with an Uber driver, an independent contractor or gig worker who drives the rider to their destination.
Miguel, C., Martos-Carrión, E., Santa, M. (2022). A Conceptualisation of the Sharing Economy: Towards Theoretical Meaningfulness. In: Česnuitytė, V., Klimczuk, A., Miguel, C., Avram, G. (eds) The Sharing Economy in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86897-0_2
Nealster. (2015, October 13). EBay: The original sharing economy business is A great value after PayPal spinoff. Seeking Alpha. https://seekingalpha.com/article/3566266-ebay-original-sharing-economy-business-is-great-value-after-paypal-spinoff
What is the sharing economy? (2021, June 16). The Balance. https://www.thebalancemoney.com/what-is-the-sharing-economy-5188892