In recent years, the idea of collaborative consumption has been so successful. Thanks to startups like Airbnb, Getaround, Taskrabbit and others, people are making more efficient use of their resources or time. The idea that anyone with a spare room to share, or just use a car, or free time or skills that can be better used by others – all of this has created a new market group built on connecting “which have “to” the needy “in the short term. That’s what economics is about sharing.
In many ways, the sharing economy is helping to reduce peak demand for goods and services. The fact that guests can rent rooms on Airbnb during SXSW is a more efficient use of resources if the hospitality industry Austin decided to build a lot of hotels to meet only a week of visitors. Getaround and RelayRides And renters are helping to make use of the cars that would otherwise go unused most of the time.
But what happens to the economy of sharing is that, at least with respect to markets as Airbnb and Getaround, still depends on a lot of people with many things. And if we’re talking about real power, I think we’re going to have to go a step beyond the landlord-tenant model for collaborative consumption market, and in an area that is based on fractional ownership of goods.
Fractional ownership is not a new idea – timeshare rentals have been around forever, for example – but could be applied more widely and more effectively in more markets. A good example is the way people own and use cars: It’s no surprise that most of the vehicles that are not used 23 or 22 hours out of the day. And different car sharing services and fit-users are getting one step closer to not need their own vehicles, at least in urban areas and at least part of the time.
But what if, instead of most of the people on my block to own a car that is parked most of the time, each of us shares ownership of a vehicle or combination of vehicles in the vicinity. Sure, I can rent cars currently close neighbor in a la carte basis, but still requires a person to buy, pay for insurance, and keeping the vehicle for himself, me and anyone else who wants to use it. For those of us who do not own our own vehicles, there is the thorny issue of insurance, and who is to blame or who is being covered by an accident happens in someone else’s car.
In the letter of hire services like Zipcar have gotten us a little more to answer at least some of those questions. But infrastructure around Zipcar has its own inefficiencies: It has built its fleet to meet peak demand, and what is the cars also are not used much of the time. As a result, it tends to be more expensive than the actual exchange economy of new car rental companies.
Anyway, I do not want to rent a car by the hour or by the day, whether a neighbor’s car or Zipcar. What I really want is to share a car with other people in my neighborhood and find a way to finance, manage, secure and reserve management in a single panel. I want to be able to subscribe to a service that I’m paying for access to move when I want, with insurance (and perhaps gas) built in. When a car is in a lot shared and maintained by someone else.
In short, I think this is where the auto industry is headed – or at least where to go. At some point, the automakers U.S. probably find that people are buying fewer cars and hopefully longer holding. Which companies are allowing sharing economy that used to have a car to go out. And when that happens, I think it will make more sense for automakers to create their own Zipcar similar to many major cities and lease access to their vehicles instead of selling directly.
Of course, the same efficiency model could be applied to other goods: Why everyone in the suburbs to buy their own lawn mowers when everyone could use the same piece of equipment jointly owned? Why build an Airbnb for boats when you can build a platform for fractional ownership of a boat? And old – why Airbnb a holiday home to others when you can take ownership of it with a group of others?
We know that these models can work as long as we have the right tools for their management. The question is, who is going to build this future based on fractional ownership?