Here to Stay: An Update on the Sharing Economy
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the sharing economy could reach a global revenue target of $335 billion by the year 2025. (2014 netted $15 billion, for frame of reference.) The sharing economy as a whole is not without its obstacles (regulatory shifts are needed and safety nuances are still being worked out) but a permanent shift is, not only, here to stay but on an incredibly rapid growth pace. The consumer is the true winner as the “sharing” (also known as collaborative) options reach into virtually all aspects of the world’s economy. Consumers who want to experience things (like going boating) but don’t want or can’t take on the financial commitment (like boat ownership) can still find a viable option in the marketplace. And, on the flip side, existing businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals (like boat owners and boat captains) now have a pathway to earn extra income by offering products and service for sharing. Disruption has essentially become the norm and the technology that supports this economic shift continues to create new sharing businesses and secondary opportunities for products, technologies and services to help these sharing businesses scale. A key component to the success of the sharing economy is the rise of the millennial. This group of educated, savvy consumers is now up to 80 million in the United States alone. They equal approximately one fourth of the population and are in high demand due to their combined $200 billion buying power annually. The buying behavior of this mammoth group lends itself well to the sharing marketplace and contributes to much of its success. Millennial consumers tend to shop online predominantly, are heavily active in social media and gravitate toward non-traditional shopping alternatives. Most importantly, this group craves experiences over ownership. For the millennial, access trumps ownership in almost every instance. Even traditional big-corp is now starting to take notice of the shift taking place in the market place, some notable examples of this include Marriott, BMW and Avis as they add collaborative divisions to their organizations, another sign the new trend has crossed an important threshold toward permanency. Boatsetter (especially since its mid-September merger with Cruzin, another strong player in the boat sharing marketplace) has successfully disrupted the boating industry and continues to expand its reach within the boating world while simultaneously drawing non-boaters in by breaking down the obstacles that formerly prevented the inexperienced novice from enjoying the boating lifestyle - another of many success stories in the collaborative marketplace.