Will 2017 Be The Rise of The Access Economy?


There are so many new terms coming out that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Well here’s one more thing to add to your Rolodex. In Australia, the phrase “Access Economy” is quickly taking root. Let’s explain.

Access Economy is a business model based on the notion of temporary ownership. This encompasses brands like Airbnb, Uber, and Netflix—all of which offer products to suit temporary needs rather than long term, permanence. The move towards temporary things is not unique. It mirrors the societal transition towards shorter attention spans, people being easily inconvenienced, and the inability for anyone to commit to things (or people) for longer than an afternoon.

It is also due to the ubiquitous reach of the internet. You can pretty much be connected to your network from anywhere in the world. Many big cities even have access to public wifi, including Melbourne, Australia. With so many new options available, a culture of renting has firmly taken root down under.

Why Australia? Because most of the nation’s population resides in large cities. Living in cities equates to a more nomadic, temporary lifestyle. With so many individuals coming and going, it only makes sense for the economy to accommodate their behavior.

And of course, the Access Economy is geared primarily towards millennials. This group not only spends the lions share of their time interacting with this technology, but many in this group are some of the most anti-commitment people in the world. Not that it’s a bad thing… well it kind of is—but when you’re in your twenties it’s pretty acceptable.

Anyway, the Access Economy is predicted to balloon in the areas of vacation rental services, food delivery, ride sharing, and streaming video on-demand services in 2017. Among the top businesses to grow thanks to technology? Domino’s Pizza, Deliveroo, EatNow, Stayz, TripAdvisor, the aforementioned Airbnb, and HomeToGo. Uber is expected to dominate even more of the ride sharing marketplace, handling 94% of commute requests this year in Australia.

According to Harvard Business Review, it’s important for businesses to think of themselves as being in an access economy and not treat it as simply a sharing economy, even though there is some overlap. The former largely implies that consumers are more interested in lower costs and convenience over social relationships with the company, which is true. We of course also refer to this as the bottom line.

It’ll be interesting to see how other businesses react to this new economy taking shape.