The Covid-19 pandemic does, however, pose a threat to sharing platforms as consumers become increasingly attentive to product hygiene and the need to limit physical contact with others where possible.
Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting the sharing economy theme, as identified by GlobalData.
While the pandemic and associated movement restrictions severely affected ride-sharing and accommodation sharing, its impact has been more varied with regards to consumer products sharing platforms. For example, food and grocery delivery have thrived as consumers limited visits to public spaces and restaurants were forced to close.
However, food and meal sharing propositions – which were already faced with health and safety hurdles – must now contend with consumers’ heightened hygiene expectations and scepticism towards food handling and freshly-prepared meals. The resilience of these platforms will depend largely on their ability to instil confidence in consumers and assure them that health and safety standards are not being compromised.
The steady and predicable growth of e-commerce was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted new segments of shoppers to purchase products online in order to maintain physical distancing. Given that the internet is effectively the market space of sharing economy transactions, familiarity and acceptance of online shopping will prove key to fostering growth in sharing platforms.
Platform integration and consolidation
In order to maintain or build on their market position or curb the fallout from Covid-19, larger platforms will seek to diversify or consolidate their core businesses. Uber branching out into meal delivery and more recently groceries is indicative of the likely pathway for the market leading services. This will, however, lead to platform monopolies or oligopolies that undermine the peer-to-peer foundations of the sharing economy.
Progress on gender equality, women’s empowerment, and better representation in the workforce reflects the reality that the purchasing power and influence of women is gaining momentum globally. This is no more evident than in the sharing economy, which has facilitated economic participation and working opportunities to those who may not otherwise have been afforded such access.
The flexibility of working arrangements may, for example, better suit those individuals who also have childcare or domestic responsibilities. Moreover, the sophistication of digital platforms can improve the safety of vulnerable users, through location settings for example.
This is an edited extract from the Sharing Economy in Consumer Goods – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.