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The shared economy post Covid: The challenges and opportunities

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by Startacus Admin

shared economy
Post Covid, these could be some of the shared economy trends that businesses will be looking to capitalise on in the coming weeks and months.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world we live in, with devastating economic effects on a whole range of different industries. The sharing economy has been hit particularly hard, at a time when interest in shared services was rising rapidly.

At the start of 2020, a poll conducted by Ipsos Mori revealed that 48% of people in the UK had swapped, rented or shared something via the shared economy. But the sector shared economyhas been massively disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdown measures have been catastrophic for many companies that rely on the sharing economy, with vast numbers of businesses forced to shut down operations entirely. 

While the future is uncertain for a large proportion of shared economy businesses, it’s important to remember that these are companies that thrive on innovation. Behind every great sharing economy company is a team of digital pioneers, who created that business to answer a need that no one had addressed before. So, no matter how bleak the outlook might be for sharing economy businesses in a post-pandemic world, these are the very companies that we can expect to rise to the challenge.

With many countries now lifting lockdown measures, there are already new opportunities emerging for shared economy business. These are just some of the trends that businesses will be looking to capitalise on in the coming weeks and months.

Rising demand for new transport options

The world’s leading scientists have suggested that we may have to learn to live with the risk of coronavirus until a vaccine is developed. And this means that social distancing could be here for some time. 

As we start to venture out more, heading back into workplaces and restarting our daily commutes, the pressure on public transport services will rise, and it might be tricky for passengers to maintain that distance. This may well lead to a shift in attitudes towards public transport, with commuters opting for other forms of transport, like cars and bicycles. 

The sharing economy could benefit from such a shift, as demand for hire cars and bicycle hire schemes increases. Companies like hiyacar, a peer to peer car hire company offering keyless technology and contactless pick-ups, will be in high demand as commuters look for new ways to avoid congested public transport services.

Making profitability a priority

The sharing economy has been responsible for several of the famous Silicon Valley unicorns, the name given to privately held startups valued at over $1 billion. Recent years have seen this industry skyrocket, with new startups launching all the time. But while many of the ideas have been ingenious, not all of these startups were - or ever would be - sufficiently profitable.

As the economic hit of the pandemic begins to take effect, we can expect to see some of these startups close down for good. And while this is desperately sad for the hardworking teams involved, it might be beneficial for the industry overall. The companies that weather this storm will need to prioritise profitability, and they won’t be able to rely quite as heavily on the capital of investors. As a result, we could see the industry transformed into a far more sustainable version of its former self.

Putting community in the spotlight 

The challenges presented by Covid-19 and its resulting lockdowns have undoubtedly been incredibly difficult for many, but communities have pulled together in the face of shared economyadversity. 

With many confined to their homes, community members have joined forces to help vulnerable people, delivering food and medicine, and offering support. This new emphasis on community may well be helpful for shared economy businesses, particularly those that rely on locally based peer-to-peer sharing.

Knowledge and talent sharing companies could do particularly well, as members of the public look to share their expertise to help others. Reselling and trading apps may also benefit, as consumers search for local sellers to get the best deals on second hand goods. 

Environmental concerns remain important 

Coronavirus has dominated the news agenda over the past few months, but let’s not forget the other monumental challenge that humanity is still facing; climate change.

shared economyWhile there hasn’t been as much talk about the looming climate emergency recently, this doesn’t mean that the problem has disappeared. And as we adjust to our new normal, we’ll need to ensure that environmental concerns aren’t swept under the carpet.

The sharing economy has plenty to offer in terms of greener alternatives, and as consumers start thinking more about their carbon footprint, these businesses will reap the rewards. Companies like Peerby, which encourages consumers to make better use of underutilised goods, and bike sharing schemes like Mobike may prove vital as we all join forces to limit the damage of global warming. 

Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on economies all over the world, with devastating results for large numbers of businesses. But as lockdown measures are lifted and consumers start to get used to their new normal, many new opportunities will undoubtedly arise.

Companies that do well in the coming weeks will be the ones that are flexible in their approach, and able to respond to changing consumer preferences and priorities with rapid, smart innovation. Keep your eyes peeled, we’re expecting some great things from the sharing economy this year.

This article was written by hiyacar, a peer-to-peer car sharing platform based in London.

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Published on: 29th June 2020

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