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The sharing economy continues to expand as more consumers choose “access over ownership,” according to a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). As ownership loses its value—many view it as a burden and more expensive—this new business model presents consumers with cost-effective, convenient options that inspire a sense of trust and community.
PwC noted that the definition of the sharing economy is still broad and uncertain, and in its studied defined it as “an emergent ecosystem that monetizes underutilized assets or forgoes the purchase of those assets altogether, in favor of borrowing, renting or serving up microskills in exchange for access or money,” such as Airbnb, Uber, SnapGoods and Spotify. In all, 44% of US adult internet users polled in December 2014 were familiar with the sharing economy, and nearly one-fifth of respondents had actually used such a service. The most excited respondents fell into the 18-to-24 age range, had a household income between $50,000 and $75,000, and had children in the house younger than 18.
Those familiar with the sharing economy acknowledged that there were plenty of benefits to it. Nearly 90% noted that it was based on trust between providers and users; however, this requires work, as around seven in 10 respondents agreed that they wouldn’t trust sharing economy companies unless recommended by someone they already trusted. Other top perks included affordability, convenience and efficiency, and community building.
The automotive sharing economy is one example of this business model, and these benefits rang true when PwC asked web users about this industry specifically. Fully 56% of respondents liked the auto sharing economy because it had better pricing, about one-third said it provided more choices, and nearly three in 10 said it allowed for more convenient access.
PwC’s research suggests that in order for adoption to continue, businesses in the sharing economy will need to prove their trustworthiness to consumers and emphasize cost and convenience.
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