Peer-to-Peer: The Consumer Powered Revolution

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.

 

AirBNBThree E-Commerce P2P Innovations To Know Now

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:

 

airbnbAirbnb:

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…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Most of the role models and leaders in my life have been Gen Xers so far."

–Male, 16, WI

Instagram has reached 700 million active users, and its growth has been speeding up. The app hit the new user mark just four months after reaching 600 million, and the introduction of Instagram stories in August may be a major contributor to its accelerated growth. The feature has a reported 200 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 161 million. Overall, Instagram now has twice the user base of Twitter and is quickly approaching the coveted 1 billion user mark that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger have reached. (TechCrunch)

Millennials are using social media and YouTube to decide what to buy. A U.K. study found 32% of 18-24-year-olds are using social media to research their purchase decisions before checking out, and 25% are using video platforms like YouTube. There are also signs they’d like to search for products on social media: 25% of U.K. 18-24-year-olds reported the desire to search media based on their lifestyle and 23% would like search to understand their current mood. These findings, paired with the detailed targeting available to advertisers, are changing the consumer journey from search query to cart. (AdvertisingWeek)

Millennials are keeping 70% of their money in cash, reluctant to invest in anything, from stocks to their own retirement plans—according to new BlackRock research. Clearly impacted by the Great Recession, Millennials are most likely to agree, "What you might earn investing isn't worth the risk of losing your money," and a third say “they learned what not to do with their money” from watching their parents. They also tend to undervalue the potential returns of investments by millions of dollars, which is not good news for their futures—at their current rate, most Millennials will have less than $1 million saved for retirement. (TheStreet)

Influencer marketing is proving its worth. Though marketers have worried about determining ROI with the approach, one report is claiming it’s more effective than advertising alone, showing a direct lift in results rates of up to 30%. Across 450 influencers and 11 campaigns, the expansive research compared results from consumers exposed to ads featuring influencers versus control groups, overwhelmingly showing increased action when an influencer was involved. Good news for marketers, who spent $570 million on influencer marketing on Instagram alone last year. (Adweek)

The Amazon Echo can now help pick your outfit—and tell you when you don’t look good. LED lights and a depth-sensing camera will let the new Echo Look take pictures of any look, and “Style Check” software “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists” to evaluate which outfit is best, and lets you compare pictures of multiple outfits, from multiple angles. Amazon’s already extensive product recommendations could feasibly be a part of this product’s future—and, if all goes well, a drone will ship the recommended new clothes to your door. (Quartz)

“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

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