What would you do with an extra $1000 a month? Pay off some debt, or go on a long-deserved holiday? Would you put it towards your mortgage repayments, or splurge on a new wardrobe?
According to new research released by The Sharing Hub, an Australian community of sharing economy platforms, one in 10 Victorians is significantly boosting their income as a supplier in the sharing economy. On average these suppliers are working just an extra five hours a week to earn an extra $1126 a month.
Even more people – 44 per cent of Victorians – are using the sharing economy in some way to make and save money, and this is expected to rise to 56 per cent before the end of the year. RACV already provides member access to two sharing platforms – RACV Car Share and RACV DriveMyCar.
But, what exactly is the sharing economy? And, if it’s so great, why haven’t we being doing it all along?
Haven’t we always shared?
“Sharing is nothing new. People were certainly sharing before now, but with immediate friends and family. But, sharing economy platforms, the technology they use, has allowed sharing to flourish between strangers on a large scale,” says Mike Rosenbaum, co-founder of The Sharing Hub and CEO of Spacer, an Australian marketplace for storage space.
Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to ‘Sharing Economy’, a World Economic Forum report from December 2017, reports that according to Google Trends, the popularity of the phrase ‘sharing economy’ has increased sixteen fold since 2013. The paper explores case studies from around the world; from the six ‘libraries of things’ in Seattle where citizens can borrow tools to 97 distinct sharing schemes now in place in Seoul.
The report explores three distinguishing features of the sharing economy, also known as the ‘collaborative economy’, ‘gig economy’ and ‘platform economy. Firstly, the sharing economy uses digital technologies to match buyers and sellers; secondly, it operates under the assumption that assets have excess or idling capacity (e.g. an empty car space or a spare room in your home); and, finally, it ensures there is a way to verify trust between users, via reviews and ratings.
RACV Home Advocacy and Advice Manager Nathan Taylor sees a lot of potential for Victorians who use the sharing economy. “Unequivocally the sharing economy is here to stay. The global economy is becoming much more integrated and everyone in the Victorian economy is competing in those global value chains. But, Victorians can use their idle assets to help boost their income,” he says.