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The sharing economy – what does it mean and how it has changed during the pandemic

The biggest danger connected with the coronavirus is the fact that we will be affected by the COVID-19. But the pandemic is harmful not only to our health. When we look around, it’s hard to find the area of our lives where the epidemic didn’t make damages. The economy was hit by its effects as well. Due to the quarantine restrictions, most of us have stopped using some services, buying goods and traveling. The sharing economy right before the pandemic was a very popular trend. How does this industry adapt to changes and will it survive? Let’s find out.

What is the sharing economy?

In general, the sharing economy is sharing goods that are not temporarily in use. It could be a place for sleep or a car. We should not consider it only as something individual – we can apply the sharing economy also to the companies. The idea is based on an assumption that both sides have insufficient assets at their disposal. Resources that we don’t use could be shared with other people – to activate them by introducing them into economic circulation. What’s more, microservices like that are usually provided online without the need for professional intermediaries and brokers. It’s right to say that the sharing economy growth decade ago and now it’s more and more popular.

Two leading examples of the sharing economy model are the Airbnb and Uber companies. The first one is a platform where one can book an apartment or a room. Another one, thanks to its app, offers a ride. How is this different from traditional taxi cabs? It’s all rules by private drivers in their private cars. Even though they are the first companies coming to mind when thinking “sharing economy”, some experts think it’s just a marketing slogan for them. In 2015, Sarah Kessler wrote an article “The Sharing Economy Is Dead, And We Killed It” in which we can read that nowadays there is no more the sharing economy because people and companies used that term and transformed it into pure capitalism.

Pandemic effect on the sharing economy

The pandemic has changed the sharing economy industry a lot. People who used that kind of industry had to rethink it and adapt to the new regulations and needs. The mentioned companies – Airbnb and Uber – had some issues with their services caused by social isolation. Most of us stayed at home, we didn’t travel and had no need to move anywhere. Therefore, they tried to adapt to the situation. A good example would be apartments for rent for the quarantine time or food delivery by taxi drivers. 

On the other hand, there are a lot of new ideas on how we can use the sharing economy tools during a pandemic. The truth is new situations forced us to introduce new methods. A good example is the “poMOST” app which helps to connect an elderly person with the local community. The Internet is full of fan pages and support groups where people offer their time to go out with someone’s dog or do shopping. 

As we can see, the sharing economy can be adapted even in the most difficult circumstances. It’s an idea very helpful and needed. It allows us to meet new people, give others something more from ourselves and also do a lot of good for our planet.  

Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash

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