COVID-19 Crisis, Not the end of the sharing economy

The COVID-19 crisis is not the end of the sharing economy; we are just getting started! Multiple publications have declared the death of the sharing economy, including the New York Times and the Financial Times. If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I’ve had an entirely different perspective. The initial reaction to the pandemic was that the sharing economy wouldn’t survive the crisis. In reality, it’s just changing and adapting.

Adversity spurs on sharing

Many companies we have come to know and love in the sharing space have been born out of previous crises, including the rental industry. Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb all got their start by solving a problem. Since then, we have had many new entrants to this space like Lime and RentItems. The impact on Airbnb has been very public due to the timing of the crisis. They were headed for an IPO, and their peer-to-peer model was under scrutiny with the number of small businesses appearing on their platform. While I believe that is a natural transition for the platform, that doubt paired with an international crisis lead to the collapse of their IPO plans and news outlets to question the future of the sharing economy itself.

Something interesting has happened in the space between the “collapse” of sharing and today. People started sharing!Click To Tweet

I was just speaking with a friend and colleague about how he was volunteering his time and expertise through an app along with many others to help those in his community who were suffering. Another friend is opening their basement to a friend who is stuck in transition due to the crisis. I spent the last few months in a relative’s basement myself. If you spent any time on Facebook, you saw the sharing of bread starters, supplies, and the most marketable item of all — toilet paper. Marketplace platforms like Airbnb and professional rental companies enable sharing with everyone in your community, not just relatives and close friends.

The crisis didn’t end sharing. In some ways, it became more authentic. Now Airbnb is eyeing its IPO at an even higher value than before COVID. It turns out, people are tired of being cooped up, and short-term rentals are extremely attractive. Vacations have seen a 207% increase in future global bookings from April – June 2020.

There certainly has been a shift in the market over the last few months. Airbnb has gotten leaner, traditional rental companies have reacted with certificate programs like the American Rental Association’s Clean-Safe-Essential program, and companies entering the sharing space have had to think more creatively about cleanliness and contactless. These innovations will help build upon the sharing platforms that already exist.

People still need community and a way to connect

The biggest take-away from this crisis is that people need community and want to be connected to their sharing experience. Your local rental company, Airbnb host, and community-driven rental platforms like RentItems will not only survive this crisis but come out of it better positioned to enable a future that is more environmentally sustainable, sharing-focused, and community-driven.

If you or your business would like to be more circular by joining the sharing and rental economy, then follow my posts for more tips on how you can get involved, or head over to and start sharing today!

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