Issue 224, April 2015
The report, called The sharing economy (30 pages), incorporates research from interviews with industry insiders and a survey of 1,000 US citizens.
According to an article by James Dean in The Times, the report indicates that young people are ‘embracing a pared-down lifestyle and are happy to borrow rather than own everyday items, be they cars, pets or clothes’.
Citing statistics from the report, Dean says that ‘77% of millennials – young adults born around the turn of the century, who tend to favour “experiences” over “things” – aspire to a pared-down life. Compared with those aged 25 and over, nearly twice as many 18- to 24-year-olds believe that access to material things is more important than ownership. Owning a car is viewed as particularly wasteful’.
It seems that the ‘The economic downturn left many consumers rethinking the necessity of possessions,’ and ‘many recession-fuelled values have stuck’.
Part of the popularity of the sharing economy is that it enables people to make money from possessions they own by renting them out, so in strict terms it is not ‘sharing’ but ‘renting’, but there is no getting away from the fact that it means fewer resources are used by more people. Examples of well-known sharing economy commodities are Airbnb (accommodation), Uber (transport) and Spotify (music), but there are many more examples in the report.
The UK Government is exploring the possibility of expanding the sharing economy, with an independent review led by Love Home Swap chief executive Debbie Wosskow concluding that red tape needed to be minimised if the sharing services were to take off.
Source:The Times, 21 April 2015; PricewaterhouseCoopers report The sharing economy available from the PwC website: http://www.pwc.com/CISsharing.