SocialCar: An Example of the Sharing Economy

Is the sharing economy revolutionizing the traditional economic system? Is it really changing the world and establishing a philosophy of sharing instead of possessing? Are we prepared to divest ourselves of ownership and pay for usage alone?

Online sharing economy platforms are proliferating, and according to the National Committee for Markets and Competition there are over 500 companies that operate within the sharing economy in Spain. Worldwide, companies of this type boast a collective turnover in excess of 2.5 billion euros. But what exactly is the sharing economy? Simply put, it is the exchange of goods and services between users. “Within Spain, it is one of the business models with the greatest potential for growth”, explained Susana Domingo, the Head of Entrepreneurship at the UPF Business Shuttle Innovation Unit, which is the organizer (along with UPF Barcelona School of Management) of the “Entrepreneurship Afternoons” conference cycle. On this occasion, the talk was given by Mar Alarcón, the founder and CEO of SocialCar. “When we launched SocialCar four years ago, we didn’t even know what the “sharing economy” was - yet now we’re the leading online platform in Spain! We identified a need, and proposed a solution”, she explained. 

In Barcelona the sharing economy is home to many entrepreneurs, who see it as a sector full of opportunities. Platforms such as Wallapop, SocialCar, Trip4real and LetMeSpace are just a few examples. According to a study by Nielsen, 53% of Spaniards are willing to share or rent items within the context of shared consumption, a figure which places Spain amongst the EU countries with the greatest potential for growth in terms of the sharing economy.

“If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense that there are 29 million cars in Spain and we only use them 2% of the time; or that there are five million insured cars that are never even taken out and driven. And on top of that, owning and maintaining a vehicle accounts for 8% of the family budget”, stated Alarcón. SocialCar facilitates contact between those who have a vehicle and those who need to hire a vehicle. “You’re able to hire to a car next to where you live, in a way that’s easy, practical and with no added costs”, she affirmed.