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What is the sharing economy? Advantages, disadvantages and classification!

We will explain the overview and the background of the focus on the “sharing economy”, which has been rapidly expanding in recent years. In addition, we will introduce the advantages and disadvantages that both providers and users should know before using it, as well as five main genres.

Table of contents

  1. What is the sharing economy?
  2. Why you should know about the sharing economy
  3. Advantages of providing and using services in the sharing economy
  4. Disadvantages of providing and using services in the sharing economy
  5. Main classifications of the sharing economy
  6. Summary

What is the sharing economy?

In recent years, a new business model called the “sharing economy” has spread rapidly. In the first place, the sharing economy is an economy and its mechanism in which assets and skills are shared between individuals (consumers) and individuals, rather than being provided by companies to individuals.

This business originally started in the United States around 2010, and now companies around the world are providing platforms such as websites as a place for matching between individuals. It can be said that the merit is that the provider side who wants to make good use of idle assets and the user side who wants to use things that they do not own can create a win-win relationship through the Internet.

Why you should know about the sharing economy

The market size of the sharing economy is expanding year by year and is attracting attention, so it would be good to have knowledge about the content and examples. But why is the sharing economy getting so much attention now?

The background to the growing attention is the advancement of information and communication-related digital technologies such as the Internet. It is a well-known fact that high-capacity and high-speed communication has become widespread, and it is becoming possible to communicate and trade between individuals with a single smartphone. Furthermore, by linking the platform and SNS, it is possible to secure the reliability of the evaluation, and it is becoming possible to trade with peace of mind.

The expansion of the sharing economy has also been greatly influenced by the fact that consumer values ​​are changing. In the immediate post-war period, consumer satisfaction was satisfied by “owning things”, but it is said that this awareness is fading in today’s world where things are abundant. The market is expanding because there is a growing tendency to value spiritual richness, such as stress-free living and connections between people, rather than things that cannot be guaranteed to be owned for a long time. I guess there are

Advantages of providing and using services in the sharing economy

What are the benefits of the sharing economy? Consider both the provider side and the user side.

Create opportunities for asset utilization

The advantage on the provider side is that idle assets that have no opportunity to be used can be utilized as a means of earning new income. Also, if you try to create a means of income from the beginning, it will take a lot of time and money, but if you can use the assets you already own, you will be able to greatly reduce the initial cost of providing services.

Feel free to use

For the user, the advantage is that it is easy to use. In terms of cost, you can get what you want cheaper than buying a new one. With a rental service, you can use only what you need when you need it, so you don’t need space to store things for a long time. Even if it is difficult to purchase high-end branded products, it is possible to try them out. The easy-to-use, easy-to-use approval system on the platform is also a point that is highly evaluated.

Disadvantages of providing and using services in the sharing economy

The sharing economy also has its downsides. Let’s look at issues that affect both the provider side and the user side.

There is a risk of trouble

The biggest disadvantage is the risk of trouble arising from providing or using the service without fully understanding it. In that sense, the issue is how to ensure mutual trust.

Also, as mentioned earlier, sharing economy operators only provide a platform for transactions between individuals. Remember that even if a problem arises in a transaction, basically the business operator cannot intervene, and the only way to resolve it is for both parties.

Concerned about legal development

The second demerit is that the legal system has not caught up and there are still concerns. The sharing economy is a rapidly growing service. Therefore, providers are required to keep in mind that there are ambiguities and gray areas, and carefully confirm whether there are any legal problems when providing services and products.

On the user side, it is necessary to be conscious of not jumping on it easily just because it is reasonable, and not to get involved in something that is likely to cause trouble compared to similar services and products.

Main classifications of the sharing economy

The sharing economy is now used in various genres. The most popular genres are as follows.


In Japan, the system of bartering, in which people exchange unwanted items instead of throwing them away, has long been a part of daily life. The current sharing economy can be described as a modern version of barter. In addition to flea markets where people buy and sell in real life, there are many online services that allow people to register products using smartphone apps and purchase them.

In addition to purchasing, there are also services such as rental services that allow you to rent for only the period you need, and services that allow you to rent home appliances, bags, and clothes for a fixed monthly fee. It can be said that it is attractive to be able to use more things at a lower cost than originally purchased.


Spaces are also part of the sharing economy genre. Parking lots, meeting rooms, rental spaces, and lodging facilities are prime examples of sharing. Vacation rentals, which have been attracting attention in recent years, also fall under this category. Sharing event venues, wedding halls, etc., where demand fluctuates depending on the season, without limiting the usage, may bring great benefits to both the provider and the user.


In recent years, services have emerged that allow people to share cars, rather than buying them, as a means of transportation. For example, if you register your departure and destination on the app, the driver will fulfill your request. Considering the concept of “movement”, there is a rapid increase in the need for services that deliver ordered food, as well as those that move by themselves, from the perspective of preventing the spread of the new coronavirus infection.


It may not be easy to imagine sharing money, but crowdfunding as a means of raising funds is a typical example of the sharing economy.

It is characterized by the fact that people who have the intention of “delivering groundbreaking products that have never existed before” and “wanting to contribute to the world in this way” become founders, and those who agree with them can support them as supporters. Not only are there rewards such as purchases and investments, but there are also donation types, which can be a social topic.


In the sharing economy, resources such as skills and labor are also subject to sharing, and the need for such resources has increased significantly in recent years. For example, there are substitute services such as housework and childcare, and crowdsourcing work that makes use of expertise. Utilizing these services will increase the possibility of solving the problem of labor shortage.


In recent years, the size of the sharing economy market has expanded due to advances in Internet technology and changes in consumer values. However, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages before using them. There are various services other than the five genres introduced, so please use them as a reference for your business model.


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