As Australians look to take advantage of new opportunities to earn money and supplement their income, the sharing economy is forecast to grow more than 250 percent, reaching $50 billion, in the next five years. According to figures from the latest RateSetter Sharing Economy Trust Index, a bi-annual report that measures the attitudes and behaviour of Australians towards sharing economy services, such as Uber, Airbnb and eBay, the sharing economy is currently valued at $14.5 billion. This is an increase in the value of 24 percent, or $2.8 billion, in the last six months.
The sharing economy describes the set of new business models that utilise technology to connect consumers directly, with a focus on the sharing of goods or services, the reuse of excess capacity in goods and services, or providing frictionless marketplaces where consumers share the benefits of low platform costs and overheads.
The results also show that two thirds of Australians are actively spending and earning through sharing economy services, including ride sharing services such as Uber, car sharing services such as CarNextDoor, accommodation sharing services such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing, peer-to-peer lending services such as RateSetter, online marketplaces for Goods such as eBay and Gumtree, online outsourcing services as AirTasker, crowd funding websites such as Kickstarter and Pozible.
Daniel Foggo, RateSetter CEO, said the findings showed that this figure is set to climb.
“Our research also looks at willingness to use these services to earn and it shows that more people are considering using assets such as their homes and cars to generate extra income. The sharing economy, with its many flexible ways of earning and investing really fits the bill in terms of supplementing their income. As barriers are addressed through regulation, we expect to see a lot more people active in the sharing economy. ”
Foggo explained, “The beauty of the sharing economy is that everyone, young and old, can participate in a way which suits them,” Foggo explained.
Understanding and trust fuels demand and growth
Research from the report suggests Australia’s sharing economy is set to go from strength to strength, with 68 percent of Australians set to take part in the next six months – an increase of 27 percentage points compared with six months ago. Increased understanding of and trust in the sharing economy is likely to be at the heart of this greater willingness to participate.
“As the sector continues to grow in Australia, we expect regulation and oversight to increase, and this is something we welcome. The lack of understanding of the sharing economy, coupled with issues relating to regulation were cited as barriers preventing Australians from using these services by 49 percent and 40 percent of survey respondents respectively. Given these findings, it’s clear that greater transparency, understanding and regulation would benefit everyone,” said Foggo.
Reflecting on the conditions in the UK, where the shared economy is more widely used than here, Foggo said that the governing trade body has developed a ‘TrustSeal’ quality certification mark which is awarded to businesses which meet a list of stringent good practice principles.
“We would welcome such a certification here. The shared economy has so much to offer, so any means of rewarding good operators and encouraging more Australians to participate can only be a good thing,” concluded Foggo.