To realize the estimated 570 M€ potential value of sharing economy services at the European level by 2025, as estimated by PWC, we need to move from the current situation, sharing economy as emerging phenomenon, to a future situation of sharing as a mainstream consumer choice. For this, strategies and actions are needed on different levels.
In this HUMANE roadmap, sharing economy services are analysed as human-machine networks, identifying implications on the level of the actors of the network and their relations, as well as the extent and structure of the network. We also discuss key societal aspects.
The complete roadmap whitepaper is provided here. A summary for each level of analysis is provided below.
Actors in the sharing economy: Strategies for motivation and behaviour change is important to make people change their consumption pattern; explicating financial gains and convenience for consumers is key. Service quality in sharing economy services may be increased through standardizing sharing processes. Leveraging AI-driven predictions will strengthen sharing economy services as convenient and easy to use alternatives.
Relations in the sharing economy: Sharing economy services typically match strangers. Hence, trust is key, and must be established through the sharing platforms. Strategies to strengthen trust in the sharing platforms include social rating and recommendation systems, insurance services, authentication systems, traceability in transactions, and adequate privacy policies. Sharing relations also includes the potential for an experiential value in the meeting between strangers, possibly to be seen as an optional value-adding feature.
The extent of sharing economy networks: Sharing economy services depend on large bases of active consumers to be financially viable, to provide a comprehensive offering, and to develop needed prediction capabilities. Growth and consolidation in services is to be expected, possibly towards winner-takes-all markets. Large scale, however, needs to be achieved without losing local relevance.
The structure of sharing economy networks: Sharing economy networks are organised around a digital platforms as central node. It will be strategically important for sharing economy services to keep this centralized structure, while at the same time integrating servicer delivery networks where different commercial actors take on different parts of the service provision. Mature sharing economy services will need to be in control of most or all of the transaction process.
Societal aspects: Public awareness of sharing economy services still needs to be strengthened. Policies and regulations needs updating; government policymakers now may have a golden opportunity to require transparency and reporting from the platforms. Boundaries between sharing economy services and other service providers will blur, potentially making it difficult to distinguish sharing economy services from other service providers. Mechanisms for mitigating unintended effects in sharing economy services are needed.