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Companies such as Kickstarter, Couchsurfing, Airbnb and Eatwith.com have already made history as pioneers of digitally-enabled collaboration and sharing. All over the world, web users take advantage of these exchange mechanisms to travel more cheaply, discover new experiences or get projects off the ground.
In France, the sharing economy is also gaining momentum, according to a Syntec Numérique report, "Le rendez-vous de l’innovation: L’économie collaborative." Syntec’s research partner Odoxa surveyed 1,001 adults on December 3, 2015.
Syntec found a broad consensus on the sharing economy. Overall, 82% of the sample approved of it. The reaction was quite uniform across age groups, too. Among younger adults, ages 18 to 24, 85% approved, but 82% of seniors ages 65 and older also gave it the thumbs up.
Respondents recognized many positive dimensions to the sharing trend. For example, 83% agreed that sharing enables people to save money on products and services—a crucial point when many consumers are financially squeezed.
The sharing economy has other virtues, too. Some 79% of respondents said it allowed them to meet new people, while 74% said it helped to lower pollution. Two-thirds pointed to time savings.
There are risks, of course. Clearly websites that facilitate sharing can’t check all participants, and 64% of adults polled agreed that the sharing economy opens the door to numerous kinds of fraud.
In addition, most respondents rejected several negative descriptions of sharing. Asked whether it was intended chiefly for young people, 56% said that didn’t really apply. Similarly, 59% said they didn’t consider that sharing goods and services posed a danger to employment. And nearly two-thirds (64%) thought it wasn’t just a passing fad.
That seems a pretty sound conclusion. According to Airbnb, private hosts in France welcomed 3.9 million inbound guests between September 2014 and August 2015, and earned €481 million ($533.6 million). In addition, booked listings for Airbnb accommodation in France have more than doubled each year since 2010, the company reported.
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