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Research unveils vast growth potential of ‘sharing economy’ businesses

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The research from PwC released today found that global revenues total around $15bn (£9bn) but this could reach $335bn (£200bn).

The “sharing economy” refers to usually online businesses which allow users to participate in collaborative consumption.

It might all sound a bit airy-fairy but successes like Lyft, Airbnb and Kickstarter have already shown it had the potential to be big business.

The report focused on five key areas which it said represents the most prominent sharing economy sectors: P2P lending, online staffing, P2P accommodation, online music streaming and car sharing.

Prominent British examples include Parkatmyhouse.com, which connects users with empty drives with motorists who need a parking space, and Onefinestay, which allows users to rent out their homes to holidaymakers while they are away.

PwC economist Robert Vaughan said that the sharing economy had emerged thanks to the colliding “megatrends” of technological advancement, economic scarcity and social change.

He said “Over the next decade, our analysis highlights the potential for significant value to be created by five of its most prominent sectors, playing an ever more pronounced role in the commercial landscape.”

John Hawksmoor, chief economist at PwC added: “In some ways, the sharing economy is a throwback to the pre-industrial age, when village communities had to share resources to survive.

“They built up trust through repeated interactions with people they had known all their lives. Modern digital communications allow sharing to happen across a global village of consumers and providers, with trust established through electronic peer reviews.”

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