The has emerged from multiple technological developments that

The internet has seen many steps of evolution since the inception of the world wide web in 1992. They comprise various steps in electronic, mobile and social business (Wikipedia 2015). While all phases have spurred new business models, the recent social web also enables a paradigm change from owning to using goods and/or services. Contrary to the traditional market model, which is based on ownership, the “Sharing Economy” is built on using and sharing of products and services among others.TITLEIntroduction

The utilization of underused assets is a
positive development in today’s world. There are lots of start-ups that try to
bring supply and demand of underused assets together, and Spinlister is one of
them. Spinlister is a global peer to peer bike sharing platform. The digital
business engages in renting outdoors sports gear, with their main focus on
bikes. Through the use of their website or their application for smartphones,
users of the platform can list or rent bikes. The bike sharing business,
founded by Will Dennis and Jeff Noh, initially launched in San Francisco and
New York in 2012. The company insures every bike that is listed on the platform
up to $10,000, so renters do not have to worry that their bike will be stolen
or damaged. The platform has
listings in 63 countries and users from 120 countries (Haddad, 2014; Hurford 2015).

The last couple of years, lots
of new digital business have emerged. With the current rise of these digital
businesses, the so called “sharing economy” is continuing to grow. The
underlying business models that most of them use is that they operate in “sharing
economies” of collaborative consumption (Cohen & Kietzmann, 2014). Hamari,
Sjöklint and Ukkonen (2015) define the sharing economy as the peer
to-peer-based activity of obtaining, giving, or sharing access to several goods
and services, coordinated through online digital platforms. The companies that
contribute to the sharing economy do not sell goods or services themselves, but
they rather sell the users access to their platform. The digital platforms rely
on the users of the digital platform to generate supply and demand. The sharing
economy has emerged from multiple technological developments that simplified
sharing of goods and services through the availability of various information
systems on the internet (Hamari et al., 2015). The sharing economy gives people
the opportunity to offer and share underutilized resources in creative, new
ways (Cohen & Kietzmann, 2014).

Using an application or
website to gain access to a good or service is an essential feature of the
sharing economy. Instead of buying and owning goods, consumers only want
access to it when they need it and prefer to pay for the experience of using
the good for a limited amount of time (Eckhardt & Bardhi, 2015). Spinlister
utilizes this economic development of the sharing economy by having created
their own platform in which users generate supply and demand. High technology
markets display potential network effects, which means that the value of using
the product increases if many other people also use the same product (Birke,
2009). The goal of this paper is to discuss if Spinlister displays potential
network effects if more people use the platform.

A literature review will
be used to answer the central question of this paper.

The paper is structured
as follows.

General background

Currently, the traditional
market model is primarily based on ownership. However, the
sharing economy is based on the sharing of products and services among others
(Puschmann & Alt, 2016). The ownership of a good has been the normative
ideal of consumption based on the advantages of ownership. Historically, ownership
of a good was cheaper and also provided a sense of independence (Snare, 1972). In
contrast, temporary access to something was seen as an inferior type of
consumption (Ronald, 2008). Traditional rental was seen as wasteful (Cheshire,
Walters, & Rosenblatt, 2010). Therefore, individuals who engaged in
traditional rentals were seen as inferior consumers who were misallocating
their purchasing power (Rowlands & Gurney, 2000). However, during the last
decade, online access systems were developed that go beyond traditional forms
of access. For example, peer-to-peer matching services like AirBnB. The
access-based consumption differs from traditional rental because it is more
self-service oriented and more collaborative. It is collaborative because
people with similar interests band together and share assets. This form of
consumption is enabled by digital technology. Since companies find ways to
monetize the use of their digital technology, the sharing economy is becoming
more important (Botsman & Rogers, 2010). The increase in popularity of
access can also be traced back to the global economic crisis (Bardi &
Eckhardt, 2012).  

The
concept of the sharing economy is not new. Sharing resources was already used
in business-to-business domains, e.g. the sharing of machinery in agriculture. The
sharing was also already known in business-to-consumer domains, e.g. public
libraries and pools. However, it was not yet known in consumer-to-consumer
domains. This development has resulted in new business models. Three main
drivers for this development can be identified: (Puschmann & Alt, 2016;
Botsman, 2014; Hamari et al., 2015).

–      
Changing
consumer behaviour

–      
Social
networks and electronic markets

–      
Mobile
devices and electronic services