There is a lot being said about the sharing economy at the moment, and conveniently last month Mastercard released a whitepaper The Sharing Economy: Understanding the Opportunities for Growth. I was reading it last night on the train back from London and in this post will share my notes. There are countless definitions of the sharing economy. Mastercard indicate that the natural instinct to share with one another combined with new technology that enables that sharing to happen in unprecedented ways will ensure that the sharing economy is here to stay. "..a socio-economic ecosystem that empowers people to share underutilised assets directly with others."
In 10 years, the circular economy will be the only economy, replacing wasteful linear economies, predicts Gartner. According to Gartner, circular economic business models encourage continuous reuse of materials to minimise waste and the demand for additional natural resource consumption. "The circular economy creates an ecosystem of materials," notes Sarah Watt, senior director analyst at Gartner. "What was previously viewed as waste now has value. However those ecosystems are complex, and include many interdependencies and feedback loops."
With 2.8 million individuals currently working within the UK's gig economy, there are major benefits to be gained for insurers who are quick to tap into this rapidly expanding market, according to data and analytics firm GlobalData. A recent report by the company found that the market is only currently being served by a number of small InsurTech firms, leaving considerable opportunities available for any large insurer looking to expand into this space. Additionally, there is a large number of individuals operating within the gig economy who hold no insurance, and who could benefit from cover against accidents whilst working, loss of income due to illness or public liability. Individuals in the gig economy contract their services out to be paid per task, and may also offer insurers an opportunity for employment purposes. Originally a consumer-to-consumer market, rapid improvements in technology have enabled the gig economy to grow into an entirely new market in recent years.
The idea of the circular economy has been growing in popularity in recent years. This has been further driven by the damage that the human race has done to ecosystems worldwide as a result of waste, and carbon emissions. The circular economy has underlying pretexts that would lead to the reduction of such issues. An increasing number of people believe it could be built on to encourage innovation, increase employment and even enhance economic growth. There are many ways in which this would be advantageous for society, hence the numerous supporters of these concepts.
Statisticians are exploring how to measure the UK's rapidly growing "sharing economy", where consumers trade time, assets and talents through platforms such as Airbnb and TaskRabbit. Amid criticism that official statistics fail to capture the full picture of Britain's modern economy, the Office for National Statistics has been planning to update its surveys to better measure the new ways people consume and trade goods and services. The ONS will publish on Tuesday a feasibility study into how it could measure the sharing economy, where people use online marketplaces and social networks to buy, swap and share assets such as rooms and cars, as well as services such as cleaning or business consultancy. A government-ordered review has called for the ONS to be more innovative and for economic statistics to be brought up to date. The ONS has been speaking to businesses and members of the public to establish how well the sharing economy is understood, aiming to add new questions to its surveys.