What is the sharing economy?

To save money and space, many people prefer to rent rather than buy many things, from children's toys to surfboards.

What is better: renting or buying the things we use every day? If in the past paying to share the same object with other people was not a common attitude, today the scenario is different. With less money in their pockets, many people joined the sharing economy in the 2010s.

The sharing economy (also called sharing economy) is an old practice, but it gained its name after the global recession caused by the bursting of the housing bubble in the United States in 2008. 

Experts consulted by UOL explain that this practice became popular due to a change in consumption patterns. Due to the drop in income, the experience of using something has become more valued than its possession. Renting, therefore, became more interesting than buying.

Although there is no consensus on the definition (some call it access economy), the shared economy refers to a commercial exchange between those who do not have something — or do not want to have it — and those who do and are willing to lend it, either by providing a service with that good, or by effectively leasing it for a specific time (i.e. a business opportunity). 

O World Economic Forum lists, in a white paper 2017, the three characteristics that separate the sharing economy from traditional markets or sharing practices carried out between friends, family and people close to us: 

  • Use of digital technologies to bring consumers and suppliers together;
  • Capitalization of what is idle;
  • Validation of trust in relation to the good or service provided.

Car sharing services, such as Uber, 99, BlaBlaCar, Turbi, and house or room rental services, such as AirBnb, or bicycle rental services, such as the partnership between Tembici, Itaú and iFood, are well-known examples of sharing economy businesses. 

Therefore, today it is possible to rent (instead of owning) a lot of things. Especially when it comes to things that we don't use that often, or that we don't know how long we will use. Or when we are unable to store them at home or because the purchase cost is not yet affordable. 

Want some examples?


We've become accustomed to renting clothes for wedding parties (especially brides and grooms) and costume parties. But there are already digital platforms where it is possible rent clothes and accessories for everyday life or for a party or special occasion.


Children grow and their interests in toys change. Anyone who doesn't want to buy something that will be stored in a box or trunk in a few months can rent toys —and items such as strollers, baby seats and booster seats.


Those who have a more digital nomad mindset or who don't like to create a lot of roots can use subscription furniture rental for home (sofas, armchairs, tables and beds) to temporarily furnish a home. It can also rent office furniture to equip the company or home office.


Is a drill useful? AND! But how often do you use it? If it's not worth buying, you can rent the tool only when it is needed to hang pictures or make a hole for the hammock support in the wall.

Luggage racks and bicycle rack

Sometimes the car's trunk space isn't that spacious for the amount of suitcases everyone wants to carry. To avoid buying something that will only be used a few times, why not rent bicycle racks, car roof racks and cargo racks?

Articles that take up too much spaceIf you like cycling, surfing, doing a stand-up or playing winter sports, know that you don't necessarily need to have these items at home, especially if there isn't much space to store them. A website, which works all over the world, acts as a midfield between those who have these items and those who want to use them in a short space of time.

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