Uber is the poster-child for the future of consumer businesses. as a car service, it is not only remaking transportation but pioneering a new way forward for all categories. J. Walker Smith describes how the Uber-all business model is attracting startups and investors while posing serious competition to established businesses. It is a perfect fit for what consumers want, for where the global economy is headed, and for employee skills in a labour market that is already being transformed by technology.
The Global economy continues to struggle. Even the cheapest oil prices in a generation are not enough to jump-start the world economy back to life. Growth is slowing in emerging markets. The EU is verging on another recession. The US is improving, but still remains well below years past.
As a result, wages have stagnated, inflation and prices remain weak, high-paying jobs are scarce, credit is still tight and consumer confidence continues to drag. Unfortunately, medium- and long-range forecasts foresee slowing growth as the new normal.
The state of the world economy presents a challenge to established ways of doing business because the old ways rely on an economy that no longer exists. Businesses have long pegged their plans and value propositions to expectations of aspirational consumers flush with discretionary income and motivated by an eagerness to buy. That model doesn’t fit with the foreseeable future. The global economy is simply not operating like it used to. The economy has reset, so while growth is occurring, it is on a lower trend line.
Last year’s headlines tell the tale: P&G, Unilever and Walmart all reported difficulties and cautious outlooks, symptomatic of business model mismatches with the current, and future, economy. What companies need to do is not to try to run faster, but to run in a new direction. A different model is required – one that reflects what consumers truly value and can actually afford.
The business model of the Uber-all economy best fits these circumstances.
This article appeared in Marketleader and is a substantially edited version of a webinar presentation to be found at thefuturescompany.com/futureview-2015-uber-all/