Imagine a day when there are no online applications or software and you have to opt for the traditional methods of doing things. Well, you probably can’t or can already think of it as being the worst day possible. A decade back, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal that it is now. Technological innovations and the way technology has infused with our lives over the years for performing our daily tasks have made our lives simpler and easier but has made us dependent on it. People have started to book cabs, buy groceries, rent furniture, order food and what not using applications online while sitting in their houses and still getting the best deals in the market.
With all this happening, the online platform economy has been thriving and so are the number of job opportunities associated with it. According to a research by JPMorgan Chase, there were 38 million payments directed through 128 different online platforms to 2.3 million distinct Chase checking accounts between October 2012 and March 2018. It also has broadly distinguished online platform economy into four sectors –
1. Transportation Sector – Drivers transport people or goods like Uber.
2. Non-transport Work Sector – Workers offer a variety of services like UrbanClap.
3. Selling Sector – Sellers of different goods find buyers through marketplaces online like Amazon.
4. Leasing Sector – Lessors find lessees to rent cars, furniture or home like Zoomcar.
This JPMorgan research has helped to make some notable findings as below –
1. Among these four sectors, the transportation sector has grown the most between 2013-18 in terms of both the number of participants and total transaction volume. By March 2018, transportation platforms even accounted for as many participants and as many dollars as the other three sectors combined.
2. Most participants in the Online Platform Economy are active in just a few months out of the year and almost 65% of the Online Platform Economy has earnings within 3 months of the year.
3. Between 2013 and 2017, earnings fell by 53 percent in the transportation sector and grew by 69 percent in the leasing sector. Earnings in the non-transport work and selling sectors were volatile but showed no strong trends.
4. Platform earnings represent a major source of income for families during the months when they participate, but only 20 percent of income among those who participated at any point in the prior year.
It is clear that the Online Platform Economy is growing and as it continues to grow, these various sectors would be diverging more clearly and maybe we would even see some new ones. This further raises the question that whether the sectors will need to be addressed and get tailored policies for them to work better, easier and be much more organized.
Although freelance driving has been the pivot of Online Platform Economy and has seen the most growth, it is still considered as a part-time job for many. There will be a lot of innovations in the Non-Transport sector as every possible service that can be provided is getting listed online and being done in a click. Selling and Leasing sector is growing at a steady pace but is dominated by a few participants making it competitive and harder to have high profits for a newcomer. Based on this research and its findings, whether the Online Platform will be the “future of work” or not, most of the participants aren’t putting it to the best use which could possibly make this a start of something new.