In this section we will be looking into peer-to-peer access platforms, and how they have impacted the sharing economy.
Peer-to-peer access concerns those brands which provide the platform for consumers to rent goods and services to other consumers.
Brands like eBay
that provide the platform for consumers to sell to other consumers may be an extension of this, but we could not consider that as part of the sharing economy because eBay purchases lead to ownership and the sharing economy is about access
We have already discussed businesses such as Uber and Airbnb in the previous steps, but both businesses are good examples of peer-to -peer Access and are probably the biggest players in this category. Uber provides the platform for consumers to provide transportation to other consumers. Airbnb similarly provides the platform for consumers to provide accommodation to other consumers.
This category is probably the most revolutionary aspect of the sharing economy. Where previously consumers bought or even rented goods from businesses, now they are renting them from other consumers, and businesses like Uber and Airbnb are providing the platform for this to materialize.
People who have items they don’t use frequently or no longer need can now make them available to others who need them. People who have skills and spare time can now offer their services to other people who need them, without being employees of any business. This means you don’t have to own a restaurant to make sushi for others; you can simply find people who need sushi and make for them when you have the time.
This represents a tremendous opportunity for more consumers to derive more value for the things they own or skills they have. By so doing, they also provide access to goods and services at lower and affordable fees to those who need them but cannot afford to buy. Peer-to-peer access presents the biggest opportunities for startups and at the same time the biggest disruptors to existing businesses that sell these good and services now being accessed through the sharing economy. We will further explore the impact and implications of the sharing economy for new and existing businesses as well as for participants during Week 3 of this course.
Can you think of two goods or service that we are still accustomed to buy, but are well suited for peer-to-peer access in the future? Please describe why you think they are suitable.
Share your ideas to the Comments area.