A relatively new term, ‘sharing economy’ came to our attention the year that Airbnb became a household name. It was coined to reflect the changing habits adopted by people whereby services and products are shared rather than bought.
Its presence can be witnessed across various platforms that span transport, luggage storage, and co-working spaces. Popular names include Grab: Thailand’s version of Uber, Stasher that provides a luggage storage solution and HUBBA, a Bangkok co-working concept.
At the PropertyGuru Real Estate Summit, a panel titled: ‘The “Sharing Economy” phenomena: how will it impact Asia’s major cities?’ discussed this topic extensively. The panelists recognised how sharing economy entities have created an entirely new economy, which is forecast to become the mainstream.
Societies are veering towards a more shared style of living whether that be renting an Airbnb while on holiday or business trip or using a taxi-hailing application in favour of car ownership. While the likes of Airbnb deem to have a detrimental effect on the hotel industry, new ideas plug this gap such as a Stasher which also benefits from Airbnb.
Catherine Ainsley, Global Head of Partnerships, at Stasher explained how this luggage holding facility allows people to leave their suitcases and bags in over 1,000 locations across 200 countries, enabling users to get on with their day without having to haul their belongings around.
Ideal for people who have checked out of their Airbnb but might not be leaving the city until later that day. While many of these Stasher locations are situated in shops, some are in hotels creating a new revenue stream in place of what might be lost due to Airbnb.
This innovative company is also creating hotel add ons such as day package where users can enjoy the hotel’s facilities for an extra charge.
Historically co-working spaces are geared towards individuals who require flexible office solutions. Digital nomads continue to rise with a fair chunk being based in Bangkok, Phuket in Chiang Mai.
However, co-working spaces now have a wider net of tenants. Archawat Chareonsilp, Chief Strategy Officer, HUBBA Thailand told how smaller companies are favouring HUBBA’s office set-up which lacks the long term commitment and investment that traditional offices offer.
Moreover, the sharing economy is not just about products and services, it is about creating a knowledgeable platform for people to share their expertise and grow from. Co-working spaces provide the ideal environment for this.
Away from work, co-living is on the rise too. As property prices ramp up, one solution is to create smaller units with shared facilities that are therefore more affordable. This is the trend is expected to head in an upward trajectory and to develop to cater to aging populations who seek different living solutions.
Developers are continually looking at creating more versatile assets through mixed-used schemes for better-performing investments, but simultaneously the sharing economy is changing the way we live that impacts the real estate industry.
For example, with the increased use of transport sharing applications comes fewer cars and a decline in demand for car parking spaces in new condominiums.
As a result, astute developers across residential and commercial are keeping an eye on this growing and influential economy.
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