Research released today reveals that the UK is leading the European sharing economy, with more startups in the emerging sector headquartered in the UK than any other European country.
The study, conducted by JustPark, shows the UK is home to 10% of the world’s sharing economy businesses – more than France, Germany and Spain combined. The USA remains the global leader in the sector, with over half of all sharing economy companies based in the States.
London is the sharing economy capital of Europe, with one in twelve of the companies in the global sharing economy based in the UK capital. Worldwide, San Francisco and New York the only cities to have produced more sharing economy startups than London.
The research highlights the rapid growth of the sharing economy over the last few years, revealing that over half of today’s sharing economy companies were founded in 2013 or later. More than 80% of the companies were founded since the start of 2011.
The sharing economy allows people to buy, sell, share, hire and swap their time and assets through online platforms, such as Airbnb (for renting a room), Uber (for hiring a taxi) and TransferWise (for currency exchange).
The new research, which categorises companies and services within the sharing economy, shows that borrowing items is the most popular sharing economy service – accounting for 334 of the 864 global companies. These companies allow users to borrow money, forms of transport, venues and even designer clothes from other members of the online communities.
According to an analysis by PwC in 2014, the sharing economy is currently worth an estimated $15bn per year globally, with the UK sector valued at approximately £500m. Its global value is forecast to rise to £335bn by 2025, with the UK sector estimated to grow to a projected £9bn.
UK-based sharing economy companies include peer-to-peer parking service JustPark, currency exchange platform TransferWise, and crowdfunding website Crowdcube. Leading global players include taxi app Uber (valued at over $50bn) and property rental platform Airbnb (valued at over $20bn).
Alex Stephany, CEO of JustPark and author of The Business of Sharing, said: “The sharing economy has the potential to change everything about how we access goods and services.
“Today, there are many high-growth businesses creating new money-making and saving opportunities for consumers and creating new social capital in society. This study depicts the state of play in today’s vibrant sharing economy.
“In time, the sharing economy will grow to be pervasive in an even wider array of industries. Healthcare, education, insurance, even farming – these are all sectors which disruptive sharing economy startups will shape through engaged communities that are being built around lean business models.
“Indeed, there are barely any sectors that won’t be impacted by the efficiencies of sharing economy and peer-to-peer online platforms.
“It is fantastic to see the UK at the forefront of this new business movement, bolstered by the British government’s support. We have the opportunity to position the UK as a global leader in this space. Digital is helping to move forward the economy as a whole and we should do all we can to drive innovation and job creation in the sharing economy.”