Sharing economy set to quadruple in next five years

“As barriers are addressed through regulation, we expect to see a lot more people active in the sharing economy.”

The sharing economy is forecast to grow by more than 250%, reaching $50 billion in the next five years as Australians take advantage of new opportunities to save money and boost their income, according to the latest RateSetter Sharing Economy Trust Index.

RateSetter issued the bi-annual report that measures the attitudes and behaviour of Australians towards sharing economy services such as Uber, Airbnb and eBay.

According to the report, the sector is currently valued at $14.5 billion, representing the total amount spent by Australians on platforms such as eBay, Uber, AirBnB and newer peer-to-peer solutions such as Carnextdoor.com.au and RateSetter. This represents an increase in the value of the sharing economy of 24% over the last six months, up from $11.7 billion spent through peer-to-peer platforms in January 2016.

RateSetter CEO Mr Daniel Foggo said the findings showed that nearly two thirds of all Australians used the sharing economy in the past six months – and 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, fits the bill in terms of supplementing income. As barriers are addressed through regulation, we expect to see a lot more people active in the sharing economy,” he said.

“The beauty of the sharing economy is that everyone, young and old, can participate in a way which suits them,” Foggo said.

Research from the report suggests Australia’s sharing economy is set to go from strength to strength, with over two thirds (68%) of Australians willing to use sharing economy services in the next six months – up 27% 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 about it (49%) coupled with issues relating to regulation (40%) were cited as barriers preventing Australians from using these services. Given these, it’s clear that greater transparency, understanding and regulation would benefit everyone,” Foggo said.

In conclusion, Foggo said that in the UK, where the shared economy is more widely used than here, the governing trade body has developed a “TrustSeal” quality certification mark. It is awarded to businesses that meet a list of strict good practice principles.

“We would welcome such a certification here. The shared economy has so much to offer. Any means of rewarding good operators and encouraging more Australians to participate can only be a good thing,” Foggo said.

Inside Small Business

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