“We are seeing a dramatic growth in products and services that are built on peer-to-peer platforms, such as ride-sharing and property rentals, as more entrepreneurs harness the power of technology to reach more consumers,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a press release. “Through our workshop, we want to better understand the competitive impact of these new business models, as well as their interactions with existing regulatory frameworks.”
A recent report from PwC estimated that five key "sharing-sectors" -- travel, car sharing, finance, staffing, and music and video streaming -- have global revenues of roughly $15 billion dollars and could increase to around $335 billion by 2025. But with that economic growth comes questions about how to regulate new services that are disrupting established markets.
The FTC wants the public to weigh in so it can better understand the sector, both before and after the workshop -- asking questions about how local regulators are responding to the new business models and what consumer protection issues such as privacy and data security they raise, among other concerns.
Workshops are frequently a first step for the FTC, often leading to reports and ramp up in enforcement on practices that may negatively affect consumers.
The agency has been particularly active on digital issues in recent years. In March, it announced a new office focused on technology research and investigations.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that global sharing economy revenues could increase to $335 million by 2025, rather than $335 billion due to a typo. We regret the error.