In 2011, Time magazine hailed it one of “Ten ideas that will change the world”. These days, collaborative consumption appears to be living up to the promise. Defining a shift in attitudes towards consumerism, the collaborative economy came of age in a connected world in which goods and services could more easily be shared, traded, rented and lent.
This decentralisation of products and services has particularly taken off in four areas:
- accommodation – renting directly from homeowners via sites such as Airbnb and FlipKey;
- transport – vehicle share schemes such as GoGet, or transport services such as Lyft or Uber;
- crowdfunding and lending – community-driven online fundraising using services such as JustGiving or IndieGoGo, or peer-to-peer lending, in which sites such as Funding Circle and Upstart enable services typically offered by banks;
- skilled or unskilled labour – professional, delivery and household services available for casual hire via platforms such as 99designs (graphic design services), Airtasker (everyday tasks) and Deliveroo (restaurant delivery).
PwC research estimates that the total transactions for these sectors in Europe, valued at €28 billion in 2016, will see a 20-fold increase to €570 billion by 2025.
On-demand household service platforms look set to achieve the fastest growth, expanding revenues by roughly 50% per year. The sector’s development is being driven by a new generation of consumers who are increasingly turning to on-demand services to assist in matters of the home.