‘What’s mine is yours,’ Sean Pillot de Chenecey, Global Trends Analyst at Brand Positive reiterates this, stating that this “age-old trend” of sharing and borrowing is what drives the sharing culture today. The internet has leveraged this trend; startups around the world have pushed this forward with success, bringing it under the spotlight.
For the last few years, the industry has been discussing how access trumps ownership. Citing various examples where people have shared assets such as accommodation, transport or services ranging from using laptops to mowing lawns, Mr de Chenecey said, “Access trumps ownership is a fundamental shift in consumer behavior. There are statistics here that amaze me.”
While speaking at the OMD Predicts 2016 conference, he pointed out statistics such as 60 percent of people in 60 countries buying into the sharing economy or the fact that two-thirds of the world’s population would agree to rent or share and apartment for financial reward to explain that the fundamental human behavior of sharing has become a standard social norm today that is essentially changing consumption. Also that this trend is no pan demographic, crossing geographical boundaries and applying across age groups.
Less Is More In A Sharing Economy
While it is evident that the sharing economy is not limited to a particular market or target group, some of the changes of the growing on-demand economy, is the rise in demand for higher quality assets, at times even at the cost of foregoing ownership.
“The potential audience of the sharing asset use is more interested if the quality of the sharing asset is higher. The potential real estate or fashion purchaser is going upmarket, and this has a significant impact on brands,” Mr de Chenecey said.
Less is more is a reality today. He said that the conversation is no longer just about big brands or corporates but how people want demand more choice and diversity and governments and businesses.
He also pointed out that some of these companies, in the current state, have grown faster than the surrounding regulatory ecosystem. Citing the example of Uber, he said, “We are seeing companies come to market in unregulated ways, and authorities catch up later. Among the various issues that surface on this, one is this ethics agenda.”
The ethical stance that some of these companies take with the business stakeholders such as drivers in the case of Uber or field staff in the case of Deliveroo is another area that he stressed on. “Regulation catching up and nailing some of these things in the gig economy is a big issue, and once again a macrotrend,” he said.
The Human Quotient
One of the points that came through in Mr de Chenecey’s address was around the human element. Quoting the example of the Apple-Emotient purchase, which is an emotional and facial recognition software, he explained that the conversations around changing the one-size-fits-all approach was closer to a reality. He also spoke about the impact on the autonomy to employees that would increase happiness and productivity.
“The idea of autonomy itself drives efficiency and productivity, and however outlandish it may sound to some, this is true for employees in an organization as well,” he said.
At the same time, in sectors such as healthcare, technology has improved speed and agility. The likes of augmented reality have application in this sector to bring greater benefits to consumers.
In his address, Mr de Chenecey also looked at pattern recognition and how this was helping companies. Quoting the example of Amazon, he explained that the company had moved beyond waiting for the order to predicting demand and shifting consumers demand. The technology led system now advises on the purchase items pattern in an area, and guide the delivery process to pre-fill with potential orders.
For all the technology, data and trends that are available the biggest question is still around indentifying the relevant trends and comprehending how these apply for a businesses’ every day decisions. Whether it is localization or customization or rethinking customer value equation in terms of a shared ownership, much of the past and present has been too volatile to have a true sense of the future. At best, there is only an informed sense of direction.