Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins recently published a presentation on current internet trends. In it, she talks about how the internet and technology are revolutionizing the way consumers spend their money. According to Meeker, the three largest spending categories for consumers are housing, transportation and food at 33%, 18%, and 14% of their total annual expenditures respectively. While there is no doubt that two of the largest purchases consumers make in their lifetime are homes and cars, they very rarely use those assets 100% of the time, leading to the inability of these assets to perform as efficiently as possible. It wasn’t until very recently that companies such as Uber and Airbnb began addressing these inefficiencies, and created sharing economies that allow consumers to loan out their assets when they aren’t using them and maximize their return.
With Uber and Airbnb being valued at 41 billion and 20 billion respectively, capital has flooded into the emerging market and allowed companies to come up with innovative ways for people to share more and more of their assets. Equipment Share is one such company that matches consumers looking for capital equipment with people who own it and allows them to reach a price that is a fraction of what they would pay for a traditional rental. This model applies to various other assets as well including retail space, office space, and apartments just to name a few.
Not only has the emergence of the sharing economy provided owners of assets with supplemental income; it also eliminates links in the supply chain, allowing for lower prices and more incentives for consumers to try the new platforms.