Millennials today would rather rent a home than buy one. They would rather subscribe to an entertainment service than purchase every movie they want to watch. And many are beginning to use car sharing services instead of purchasing new vehicles. We are now and have been entering what economist call the "sharing economy."
There are a host of sites dedicated to the sharing economy. AirBnB allows travelers to book rooms in other people's home - a generally cheaper option than finding a hotel. Car sharing companies like Uber and Lyft employ people with cars to offer short distance rides to those without. Other companies offer shared tools you can rent, clothes, toys, books, and more. The sharing economy is unlimited in the industries it influences. This also means it's shaking up consumer patterns.
Forbes predicts that the sharing economy will generate $565 billion dollars worldwide this years. In the next three years, they expect this number to grow by 10%. This won't just effect the way consumers shop, it will also effect how businesses operate.
Social media, internet access, and a general shift away from big purchases has fueled the sharing economy among millennials and others. While it's not the first time in history we have started sharing among our neighbors, technology has helped us connect with people in a way we could have never imagined.