Sharing Economy: what is the sharing economy

03/03/2018 | Digital


If you think about it, the Sharing Economy was born from a paradox. Indeed, how can sharing and the economy coexist in the same concept? The first is based on a whole, a group of people using in common a resource, an object, a space. The second, on the other hand, is based on sale, that is, the transfer of a resource for a given price. How is it possible that two economic theories traditionally at the antipodes can merge into a single thought? The answer is simple: in the digital age anything is possible. 

In fact, it is digital technology that has enabled the emergence of what we can call the "sharing economy," that model to which everyone can subscribe (regardless of profession or business background) "with the goal of harnessing the efficiency of hi-tech communication to save money, to socialize, to optimize consumption, to protect the environment, to redistribute money or to establish virtuous behaviors" ( Wired's definition).

What are the goals of the Sharing Economy

If we go to analyze Wired's definition, we will realize that the Sharing Economy was born out of motivations that go far beyond the simple desire to make money. Of course, the latter continues to exist, but it is not alone.

  1. First of all, at a time when being part of the social world is like breathing, with the Sharing Economy you go along with the desire to be part of a community you can trust. And this is possible thanks to the so-called "digital reputation": the same one whereby if you fool around or cheat someone you will be banned for life, but if you are trustworthy you will receive positive reviews that, in a circular motion, will bring you more trust in the future (thus more opportunities to earn or trade).
  2. "If it doesn't serve me, it can serve you" is a concept that on the one hand allows unused items to be given a second life, and on the other helps to dispose of things we no longer need or to make them available to other people at times when we don't need them. It can be at the same time a source of income for those who give up the item and an important source of savings for those who buy it.    
  3. in a time of economic crisis when the mantra for many is the race to save money, the Sharing Economy helps and avoid wasting money and optimize living costs.
  4. last but not least, the tendency of the younger generation to be more sensitive to environmental issues leads many people to try to maintain a more sustainable lifestyle, avoiding waste and trying to pollute as little as possible. 

The classic examples of the Sharing Economy

There is one area that before all others has been exemplary for the advent and spread of the Sharing Economy: travel. 

The new generations are increasingly accustomed to sharing the experience of travel, whether we mean a small trip around town (the use of car sharing or bike sharing now present in many Italian cities is widespread, not forgetting examples of apps such as Uber or Lyft), or a more significant move (from BlaBlaCar 's car ride sharing to Airbnb's free rooms in one's home). 

Savings, shared experience, and ease of use are the key elements that drive us to use these new forms of economy.

But you don't need to move from place to place to understand how much the sharing economy can fit into people's daily lives: a simple but effective example of the sharing economy are Facebook groups based on swapping or selling. There are hundreds of them, different by category or place of membership. They have names like "I sell and buy to..." and, for large cities like Milan or Rome, the division is even by neighborhoods. The mechanism is simple, and is based on the aforementioned "if I don't need it, you can use it." The person who sells disposes of an item she no longer needs, while the person who buys does so at a subsidized price, saving money. It works especially on consumer goods whose use is based on continuous replacement, such as clothing or baby items. Of course, in addition to Facebook groups there are a whole series of platforms and apps that work on the same mechanism: from Ebay to or secondamano, to Depop, whose claim, not surprisingly, is "every object has a story to tell."

What's New

If sharing a car ride with Blablacar or using a site like to get rid of items we no longer use has become everyday practice, it is true that new apps or sharing platforms that are increasingly strange and peculiar are emerging every day. For example, Gardensharing, for those who do not have a room to put at their disposal but a garden; or Sailsquare, which connects those who want to try the experience of sailing (which has always been considered a luxury for the few) with those who own one and do not want to keep it stationary for too long. There are also many apps that refer to sharing food: from Olio to Gnammo, many solutions for not wasting leftover stuff or organizing shared dinners. 

But it is with TogetherPrice that we come to the apotheosis of the Sharing Economy: the sharing of sharing. What it means. That through this platform you can find people with whom to share all those services that work through multi-account or multi-license (Netflix, Spotify etc...). In short, the ways of the Sharing Economy seem truly endless. 

For those who would like to learn more, the official website of the Italian Sharing Economy Association is


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