Economic Views

The Sharing Economy

We believe the swift rise to prominence of companies such as Airbnb and Uber emphasizes the importance of identifying sectors and companies potentially at risk of similar disruptions. Most industries could be impacted, and all should be considering the possibility that sharing models will undermine at least parts of their business. This report lays out our view of vulnerable industries and approaches to navigating the risks disruptive sharing models pose to them.


Sharing businesses have emerged as the hot topic in the current wave of technology excitement. Start-ups compete to be “the Airbnb” of every industry imaginable and for the capital that label can attract.

The impacts are already clear in several sectors. Airbnb itself advertises three times more beds than the world’s largest hotel chain. Meanwhile, Uber has become the largest passenger transport network. Remarkably, despite the inroads they have made into established markets, those examples are still very young; Airbnb was founded just eight years ago, and Uber only launched in 2011. Identifying sectors vulnerable to similar disruptions and understanding incumbents’ exposures and strategic responses is increasingly vital given the scale and speed with which change can unfold.

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The views and opinions contained herein are those of Schroders’ investment teams and/or Economics Group, and do not necessarily represent Schroder Investment Management North America Inc.’s house views. These views are subject to change. This information is intended to be for information purposes only and it is not intended as promotional material in any respect.