Sharing Economy: Wirtschaft für die Zukunft? - NIKIN EU

Sharing Economy: Economy for the Future?

Sharing Economy is a concept that has become widespread in recent years, primarily thanks to digital platforms and offerings. However, there was nothing unknown beforehand.

According to the definition, the sharing economy is about the provision and temporary use of resources that do not have to be purchased for an individual user. This can refer to goods, but also to knowledge or information.

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What is the sharing economy about?

In order for the sharing economy to work, there must of course be someone who has the shared values ​​or goods available. The form in which this happens can be realized in a wide range of implementation options. Car sharing, which is popular with urban users, for example, can become a reality through the part-time use of vehicles from a commercial or municipal provider - but also with the help of any participant via platforms such as Uber. Depending on the model, the operating, maintenance and repair costs are also allocated. The point of the matter is not to buy and thus completely own what you only need occasionally. This not only saves money, but also time and to a certain extent responsibility, again based on example shares such as automobiles, because the occasional user does not have to worry about taxes, insurance, car washing and repairs.

Bike Sharing

Popularity thanks to internet connection

Shared goods are not a new idea - communal land was already known in the Middle Ages and was used by all villagers. The idea of ​​purchasing just one expensive tool together also existed before the advent of the World Wide Web. However, the Internet makes the implementation of the sharing economy much easier, because by registering on an online platform, the interested user has easy access to variable offers in which what is of interest can be shared, exchanged or given away. And that can be anything. Thanks to the evaluation options, both providers and users have a tool that can be used to separate the wheat from the chaff - reputable offers and trustworthy lenders can be identified without any doubt.

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These levels of the sharing economy exist

Who sharing offers are aimed at depends on the business model, especially for platforms that offer their services online. The following are conceivable:

  • P2P - in this case, participants find each other via the app or platform provided and use a technology that enables the exchange, possibly in return for compensation for the participants. These include platforms such as Uber, Vinted or AirBnB.
  • B2C – gives companies the opportunity to enable customers to participate in their services or products. A common example is offering software-as-a-service.
  • B2B – these are concepts that enable companies to borrow services, machinery or production concepts from one another.

All of these concepts have been around for a long time, but the use of the Internet has significantly improved their reach and ease of use.

Advantages and disadvantages of shared use

As with all innovations, there are two sides of the coin in the sharing economy . The advantages for users, but also for companies, are diverse. They include:

  • Uncomplicated, easy handling of platforms and selection of the desired goods or services.
  • Favourable conditions compared to commercial and new goods offers as well as overall high savings when borrowing and renting, or even buying used goods.
  • Higher sustainability, better use of resources, lower environmental impact through shared or multiple use and extended lifespan of goods.
  • Additional income via platform economies for providers and sellers, even without complicated training or further training.
  • Insights into user behavior and simplified collection of user data for companies make targeted marketing easier.

Some of the disadvantages are already obvious. The easy data collection mentioned naturally also encourages the disclosure of some of your privacy, especially via electronic platforms. This goes far beyond personal data and extends to the creation of detailed preference profiles and movement data. Depending on the platform, liability for the goods, services or information purchased is regulated differently and sometimes requires self-information or reference to the available online reviews. Particular criticism is directed at sharing platforms where the commercialization of certain services creates precarious working conditions for employees - with non-transparent wages, insufficient insurance and no union protection whatsoever.

Symbolbild Sharing

Sharing economies shape the economic landscape - but they require control

Car sharing or the uncomplicated rental of unneeded living space, as well as the sale of used clothing or the lending of books are just some of the facets of the sharing economy. The sharing economy is being used more and more in everyday life by private individuals and companies thanks to the simple organization via platforms . This can mean more savings and increased sustainability, but there should be some regulation from the legislature to ensure employment relationships, liability and quality. Another criticism of sharing, which is mostly digitally regulated, is that access to the Internet is required in order to achieve full participation. People or groups who are excluded due to their education or income are therefore affected by digital and, in this case, economic inequality, even though they would particularly benefit from the sharing economy in some areas of life.

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