Peer-to-Peer: The Consumer Powered Revolution
- April 12th, 2013
- 0 Comments
Today, Ypulse staffer Phil Savarese continues our series on the evolving e-commerce landscape by profiling "ones to watch" in the evolving world of peer-to-peer business.
The economic crisis has Millennials, and many others, thinking of new ways to do business. Communal effort and the desire for a more sustainable and beneficial future are driving forces of the generation. With this spirit and an increasing distrust of old systems as a foundation, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business model is becoming more and more common. Rather than customers buying products from a site like Amazon, they purchase from other consumers, cutting out the big brands from the exchange process. Given the social, groupthink nature of Millennials and their inherent knowledge of the internet, it is no surprise that P2P has been growing, and evolving beyond goods exchange to revolutionize other business categories as well. The “gig economy,” a marketplace of micro-jobs born partly out of the recession, is also pushing the movement forward. Peer-to-peer services are providing their users with new and innovative ways to both make life easier and earn some extra cash: the peer-to-peer economy is estimated to have a revenue of $3.5 billion this year. Here we’ll take a look at three P2P e-commerce businesses to know now:
Airbnb offers its users a new way to list and book traveling accommodations. Hosts list their own personal spaces on the site; users then book the space for a certain period of time at the price established by the hosts. It’s simple, fast, and most of all, different—a way for consumers to travel the world without ever having to pay for a night in a motel. Millennials are adventure seekers, looking for rich experiences but in an organic way. In this sense, staying in an actual living space is more appealing than a hotel room.
This mobile-based platform connects people in need of rides to nearby drivers who are registered with Lyft. Drivers go through extensive background checks to ensure the safety of the customers getting a “lyft.” The service is currently offered in San Fransisco and Los Angeles, but is hoping to expand across the nation. The concept of ride sharing is a Millennial sweet spot: the social aspect of meeting new people and convenience of getting where you need to go, all while sharing rides with others and helping the environment has instant appeal. This has the potential to be a winner among Millennials in the coming years.
Shifting gears from cars and travel, P2P e-commerce has taken a turn into a marketplace that has been dominated by banks forever: lending. Prosper was the first American marketplace to connect lenders and borrowers and bypass the bank. Similar to crowd sourcing sites, potential borrowers post the desired loan amount and purpose. Lenders can then seek out loans that they are willing to provide and receive monthly repayment from borrowers at an interest rate they are comfortable with. Prosper is a great solution for borrowers seeking to cut out the middleman (in this case a bank) and get the money they need quickly and easily. Overall P2P lending is on the rise. The UK based Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures combined to invest $12 million in Auxmoney, a German based P2P lending site, this past March.