Sharing Economy

The sharing economy thrives on the collaborative use of goods and services. In times of contact restrictions and pandemics, however, this is becoming much more difficult. Before the Corona crisis, the sharing economy was estimated to have a turnover of 335 billion US dollars in 2025 in its core areas of mobility and flat-sharing. Five years ago, the industry’s turnover was only 15 billion US dollars (cf. PwC 2015). This turnover forecast still illustrates the hype behind the sharing economy in recent years. However, the hopes placed in the sharing economy were not unfounded. The concept responded to today’s demands of society, consumption can be made sustainable and social. But many of these concepts either no longer work at all in times of Corona or are reaching their limits to such an extent that their continued existence seems questionable. While offers such as car sharing, flat sharing or co-working spaces were still in demand a few months ago, enquiries have dropped, especially during the time of social distancing. It is therefore not surprising when Uber reports that it registered 80 percent fewer rides worldwide in April alone.

 

How crisis-proof is the sharing economy?

But the extent to which the sharing economy has been affected by the crisis is also partly due to the region. The more rigid the restrictions on public life have become in recent months, the less likely it has been to use shared mobility concepts or living or working space. Public life has been relegated to the private sphere, work commutes have increasingly been eliminated due to home office arrangements, which are often maintained even after a lockdown.

The sharing economy does not only consist of concepts that seem outdated or less functional in times of pandemic. It also includes concepts of neighbourhood help, crowdfunding, educational offers, energy generation or platforms for food recycling and the joint consumption of media.

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