From 2011 to 2013, mass media reports about the share economy hit us hard. An economic revolution seemed imminent. We were all holding our breath and preparing for a new age of a new way of thinking: Sharing instead of owning. Truly a time in which the euphoria could not keep within limits. Everyone reported diligently about the new age and we felt a little reminded of the seemingly unstoppable rise of the post-war period. But as short-lived as the news landscape is today, the onslaught distorted like wafts of mist in summer.
After 10 years of the Shareconomy the echo around the topic became quieter and the predicted euphoria increasingly gave way to a reality in which the multitude of ideas and companies failed with their innovations. Gradually studies were published which showed what the real interest in the topic is in society and how the term itself was interpreted differently. We at WeeShare always saw ourselves at the centre of the movement, while we saw the bulk of other ideas as pure rental platforms. However, the public presentation was usually the opposite. With the 10th anniversary, however, we are drawing a successful and exciting balance for our future in which everything revolves around sharing. WeeShare will be used for the millionth time in November 2018 and continues to grow rapidly.
Sharing Economy is the collaborative consumption made by the activities of sharing, exchanging, and rental of resources without owning the good.
In 2008, Lawrence Lessig (US-American professor) for the first time publicly described the term in his book «Remix» as follows: «Sharing Economy is the collaborative consumption made by the activities of sharing, exchanging, and rental of resources without owning the good.» He emphasized that sharing by exchanging things replaces ownership by sharing. At the same time the Airbnb of today was founded, which later became extremely popular by renting apartments. Although Lessig speaks of renting in the context of the share economy, this was not his basic idea.
Lawrence Lessig (2008)
The rise, hype and fall
The first success stories captivated us all. Within a very short time, platforms became gigantic world enterprises. Everyone could rent out their apartments for valuable money, followed by expensive yachts and finally private cars. Here, however, the success stories already stopped as visionaries had to deal with the fact that a price threshold was reached where only rarely someone was willing to accept the expenses while the rental income was very small. Out of nowhere a multitude of different ideas appeared on the market, all of which were subordinate in the share economy. Clothes, campers, everyday objects, bicycles, services; but the success stories were gone. In addition, with a few exceptions, public reporting focused only on the platforms that enabled immediate transactions such as rent or driving costs.
Sharing Economy - sharing or renting?
The term itself leaves much open and to this day it is not clear what exactly is meant. In principle, the Sharing Economy can be divided into two groups, as the name itself suggests. «Sharing» - the sharing of resources among people and «Economy» - the economic aspect with added value in financial terms. Over the last 10 years, the term has mainly been dealt with in the context of changing economic aspects. Thus platforms like Airbnb, Uber and many other very successful ones are connected with it again and again although they are only so-called peer to peer networks which focus on renting and hiring things. In the past, sharing was mostly ignored, which in our eyes led to a distorted interpretation of the topic.
Sharing is underestimated
Looking at the past years, you quickly get the impression that only a strongly growing rental landscape has been created. But this special rental landscape that exists among private individuals has its limits. It quickly doesn't pay off to rent out anything, because it's complicated, because the expense is greater than the income. We see a strikingly important difference between rents and sharing. Renting is usually the contact between individuals who don't know each other and we understand sharing to mean that in the same case these are people who know each other well. In addition to the desired social aspect, sharing also offers the advantage of yield which is achieved by sharing all costs arising. These cost savings exceed the rental income many times over. If, for example, a group of four divides a car over four years, each person in the group saves so much money that they could buy their own car. An absurd example but it clearly shows the financial driving force behind the sharing.
The future of the Sharing Economy
Further success stories like those in the early days are unlikely. Nevertheless, some special, well-thought-out ideas could lead to worldwide success. In the top league of representatives of the Sharing Economy, a fierce fight for displacement has already begun. In addition to the already existing real estate platforms, many more will push their way onto the market. The focus will continue to be on platforms for rides services which are in the public interest not least due to the challenges of many countries and the associated social security contributions. In the area of rentals and lettings, we do not see any more notable changes, as the success here depends to a large degree on the value of the rented item. In particular, these are the properties where the market has already been flushed out in recent years. In the area of sharing, we believe in a constant strong growth, given by the environmental issue and the resource saving - issues that go hand in hand with population growth. From our growth figures we can clearly see that there is a global need to share, but there is still a lack of solutions in this area. With WeeShare, we are already offering an answer for this future.