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The Sharing Economy Is Getting 'Very Big, Very Fast,' Says PwC Study

PwC did its first ever large-scale survey on the sharing economy and proclaimed it's here to stay.


Renting and borrowing will replace ownership in many industries, according to a dizzying array of new statistics from a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report. It’s the first time the consultancy has done a large-scale survey on the topic. And it is convinced that the so-called “sharing economy” is the future.

“It’s an undeniable trend, [one] that’s going to continue,” Matt Hobbs, a PwC partner, said in an interview.

A thousand consumers were interviewed for the survey, 44 percent of whom had heard of the sharing economy. Those questioned felt overwhelmingly positive about it, supporting the thesis that tech’s sharing economy would play a bigger role across the rest of the economy.

Here’s a snapshot of the highlights:

  • 43 percent of consumers expressed that owning today feels like a burden
  • 72 percent say they could see themselves becoming a sharing economy consumer
  • 83 percent agree it makes life more convenient and efficient
  • 78 percent said that within the next 30 years they’re going to be working multiple jobs
  • 59 percent said they will not trust sharing economy businesses until they are properly regulated
  • 69 percent will not trust sharing economy companies until they are recommended by someone they trust.

Consumers generally thought that sharing-economy services would be more affordable, make their lives more convenient and hurt the environment less than traditional ownership. Trust of businesses and other consumers surfaced as the most substantial hurdle facing these new businesses. “Without trust, there’s not a sharing economy,” Hobbs said.

PwC may seem a little behind the times to anyone following the sharing economy closely. The hotel and taxi industry has been well aware of the threats posed by Uber and Airbnb for years, so they clearly weren’t waiting for PwC to tell them. But the study is meant for business leaders in all the other categories that could be transformed by the consumer trend of renting instead of buying.

Hobbs cited extra office space, transportation logistics, manufacturing and warehouse space as industries that could be upended once entrepreneurs find assets that aren’t being used around the clock.

This article originally appeared on

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