If you haven’t heard of the sharing economy by now, you’re out of the loop. This economic model that allows individuals to give something they own to someone in need, has been gaining popularity over the last few years. With the overwhelming success of both Airbnb and Uber, now, more than ever, entrepreneurs and investors consider the sharing economy a lucrative and beneficial business venture. Outside of the tech industry, the sharing economy’s fan base mainly consists of a younger crowd. But why is that? In this article, we’ll exam why millennials love the sharing economy:
Millennials grew up in a time of U.S. economic turmoil: many graduating college during the 2008 recession, which resulted in an almost impossible post-grad job market for this demographic, and making paying off student loans an even more difficult task. Experiencing this level of national financial uncertainty at such a young age has caused a cautious approach to money among this generation. Perhaps most importantly, millennials have transformed the perception of consumerism. Sharing, shopping secondhand, and being frugal is now considered the cooler option. Millennials vehemently disapprove of ownership and superfluous spending, and prefer not to shop firsthand. In fact, among this demographic, ownership is seen as more of a burden than proof of economic success as seen in the past.
Because sharing is deemed essential, the success of the sharing economy among this generation is not all that surprising. A marker of millennials is their need for instant gratification. They live in a world that adheres to their expectation to access what they need from any device whenever they need it: entertainment, answers to their questions, pictures, written work. The sharing economy grants millennials the convenience they desire without the responsibility of up-keeping a good or service. It allows them to order what they need whenever they need it without worrying about how they’ll get it. So why does that matter?
It’s important to note that this generation has the most influence over the trends of the tech industry. Tech companies follow the lead of the millennial demographic because they have the largest digital footprint. As we continue to eliminate the middle man, and focus more on cultivating a direct owner-consumer relationship, the economy will depend more and more on the concept of decentralization. Ultimately, this will grant millennials the ability to access what they want at a much lower cost. With the tech industry at millennials’ fingertips, it’s apparent the sharing economy is disappearing any time soon.