That the sharing economy culture has become part of our lives is evident in several industries including travel, leisure, health, logistics and financial services. The proliferation of platforms that enable users to temporarily share or rent their idle assets without traditional transaction costs has given rise to an interesting subculture. Today we are less and less concerned with ownership and increasingly interested in having a particular service on-demand. The model is generally defined as a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) based exchange of selling and purchasing goods or services by a community in an online platform.
This collaborative consumption has benefits for both supply and demand sides. Suppliers can access a much wider consumer base; however, the competition is fierce. On the demand side, consumers enjoy benefits like lower prices, convenience, shared experiences and more diverse offers. This new way of consuming goods is driven by new technologies like online marketplaces and aggregators that are increasing efficiencies and reducing the capital investment.
The entry of these pioneers in the field has created a new way to compete and create value in society across several sectors. What does this peer economy look like?
- It allows for more sustainable use of assets. In the past, resources were often underutilized, creating missed opportunities for revenue.
- A decentralized exchange leads to a lower costs of transactions. The more players, the better.
- Alternative cost models such as dynamic pricing based in data analytics can increase efficiency by effectively matching supply to demand.
The transportation industry is not an exception to this wave of new consumption patterns. We can now get from A to B in a significantly more connected and efficient manner. The rapid growth of both vehicle sharing and technology allows vehicles to be increasingly connected and autonomous, leading to an entirely new landscape in our cities.
Innovators of the sharing economy culture predict that flexibility will win over ownership. The shared access to a fleet of vehicles, and eventually to electric cars and motorcycles, will comprise the bulk of our commuting, and on-demand access will become preferable to ownership. Eventually driverless cars will enter the picture and converge with the vehicle-sharing trend. The result will be a safer, faster and more convenient mobility ecosystem.
The shift toward on-demand mobility could represent significant opportunities to both new startups and existing players in the industry. The retreat from personal ownership could lead to new products, services and other solutions compatible with a sharing culture. We can likely expect a seamless intermodal connected mobility ecosystem that creates more wealth than our traditional transportation industry. Determining and monitoring how this shift takes place is important because it will affect all commuters, global OEMs, insurers and any company dealing with logistics.