Generation Share: Sharing is the new Shopping

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Benita Matofska is co-founder of CompareandShare.com, a company that offers comparisons on a wide range of accommodation and transport options, as well as other goods offered for sharing such as garden tools, maternity items and even information.

The motivation behind the website is, says Matofska, “to open up the sharing economy so that everyone can experience a sharing lifestyle. Sharing is a movement that anyone can get behind, whether it’s offering someone a lift to work or renting out your apartment when you’re not there”.

The aim is to do for the sharing economy what eBay has done for second-hand goods. And, it’s a potentially massive market with the value of goods lying idle that could be shared said to be worth $5.4 trillion in a sharing economy currently valued at $15 billion and set to rise to $335 billion by 2025.

A recent report by CompareandShare.com, ‘What We Know About the Global Sharing Economy‘, suggests that the expansion of the sharing economy by $15 billion in the past seven years “is higher that the combined financial expansion of tech giants Facebook, Google and Yahoo – estimated to be $11 billion”.

Matofska says the sharing economy is a “global phenomenon” with the UK at the forefront. However, the expectation is that the Asia-Pacific region is set to dominate with 78% of people there willing to share goods with others.

Generation Share, a term coined by Matofska, is “a substantial subset of Millennials”, says CompareandShare.com, who are making sharing the new shopping. They are tech-savvy and open-minded 25-34 year olds of which 30% use sharing services to save money. Nearly three-quarters of them (74%) say they can find anything they need to rent or borrow online and 40% of them use sharing to learn a new skill or earn extra income.

What makes the sharing economy valuable, says Matofska, is that “it not only provides an exceptional investment opportunity and economically is growing incredibly fast, but it puts the environment and sustainability at the heart of the way in which it operates. The market has also been driven from the bottom up with consumers actively participating and driving it, making it unique”.

However, the sharing economy has come in for a lot of flack recently causing a backlash from existing service providers. Just this week, Hillary Clinton said she felt that the sharing economy was responsible for a “potential factor in dampened wage growth” adding that while the “so-called ‘gig’ economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation… it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future”.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristina Knight is a freelance writer based in Ohio, United States. She began her career in radio and television broadcasting, focusing her energies on health and business reporting. After six years in the industry, Kristina branched out on her own. Since 2001, her articles have appeared in Family Delegate, Credit Union Business, FaithandValues.com and with Threshold Media.