The sharing economy has become popular in recent years and it is big business. However, many people outside the business world are unfamiliar with the term sharing economy despite many using services and goods provided by the sector regularly. There are numerous apps and sites that operate on the sharing economy principle, meaning they acquire and share access to services and products.

If you are looking for statistical information on the sharing economy in Canada, you have come to the right place. In this article, we have collated key statistics on the sharing economy in Canada and across the globe. For anyone still unfamiliar with the term, we have also included a brief introduction to the sharing economy.

Sharing Economy Statistics for Canadians

  • In the sharing economy services and goods are shared peer-to-peer and often facilitated by an online platform.
  • In 2015-2016, the sharing economy in Canada was worth over $1.2 billion.
  • There were 100,500 active Airbnb rentals in Canada in 2016.
  • Less than 1% of adult Canadians are making money from the sharing economy.
  • Younger Canadians have been quicker to use sharing services.
  • The revenue from the global sharing economy is expected to reach $335 billion by 2025.
  • Sharing economy companies operate in 25 categories and 133 countries.
  • In 2020, over 2,6 million people used coworking spaces across the world.
  • Over half of China’s population provides goods or services through the sharing economy.

What is Sharing Economy?

Many people in Canada are not familiar with the term sharing economy, yet many have used a service that is part of this economy. For example, Uber, Airbnb, and Vinted are all examples of sharing economy businesses.

The term sharing economy refers to peer-to-peer activity. In this economic model, peers acquire, provide, and share access to services and goods. It allows groups and individuals to make money from sharing assets such as spare rooms, cars, or clothing. These activities are often facilitated by a community-based online platform.

Despite challenges to the sharing economy rising from concerns about abuse and regulatory uncertainties, it is growing rapidly. Other terms used to describe the sharing economy include share economy, collaborative consumption, and peer economy.

Note: What is included under the term sharing economy varies slightly across the globe. While in Western countries, Amazon and Netflix are included under the label digital economy, in China they are labeled as sharing economy.

Types of Sharing Economy

There are different types of services that all fall under the sharing economy. These include:

  • Co-working platforms where companies provide workspaces, for example, for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
  • Fashion platforms where individuals can rent or sell clothes.
  • Accommodation platforms where people can rent spare rooms/ apartments often for a lot less than what they would pay for a hotel room.
  • Car and ride-sharing platforms including services such as Uber, but also people renting their private cars to others.
  • Peer-to-peer lending platforms where individuals can lend money to others. The rates are often cheaper than traditional lending options.

Sharing Economy in Canada

According to the Canada West Foundation, the sharing economy is worth over  $1.2 billion in Canada, while based on data from Statistics Canada, 2.7 million Canadians aged eighteen or over took part in a sharing economy activity in 2015-2016.

This figure, which represents 9.5% of the Canadian population, is based on the latest conducted survey by the Canadian government on the sharing economy. The majority of Canadians who participated in the sharing economy did so through renting private accommodation or using peer-to-peer ride services.

The larger portion of the $1.2 billion generated by the sharing economy came from people using private accommodation services available on, for example, Airbnb. The accommodation services were worth over $1 billion in 2015-2016. During the same period, services offering peer-to-peer rides were worth $241 million.

The Number of Airbnbs Almost Doubled From 2015 to 2016

The number of active accommodations available through Airbnb in Canada almost doubled from 2015 to 2016. The number of private rentals went up from 52,000 to 100,500. At the same time, the annual growth rate of hotel occupancy was less than 1%.

In 2017, Approximately 9% of Canadians Had Worked in Sharing Economy

In a survey from 2017, 9% of Canadians who took part in the survey, currently worked or had worked previously in the sharing economy. The jobs ranged from rental accommodation and food delivery to providing repairs and rides.

71% of the Canadians who had worked or still worked in the sharing economy sector were under 45 years of age. 51% of the sharing economy workers had children who were less than 18 years old.

Younger People Are More Likely to Use Sharing Economy Services

Younger people in Canada have been quicker to embrace the services offered by sharing economy companies. 14.6% of Canadians aged between 25 and 34 used ride-sharing services in 2017 and 8.6% of the same age group had booked accommodation through sharing services in 2016. In comparison, only 2.1% of Canadians above the age of 55 used ride-sharing services or booked accommodation

Below 1% of Canadians Earn From the Sharing Economy

Despite its growing popularity, less than 1% of Canadians are making money from the sharing economy. This percentage represents approximately 72,000 adult Canadians who have worked in sharing economy companies such as Uber and 69,000 Canadians who have rented their property out through Airbnb or other accommodation services.

Global Share Economy Statistics

Globally, the revenue from the sharing economy was $25.2 billion in 2017 according to Statista. Much of the sharing economy revenue is generated by Millennial users who consider they get a better consumer experience when using shared services.

There are 9,829 companies across the globe within the sharing economy that operate in 25 categories and 133 countries. The categories include finance and economics, business and innovation, technology and data, food and drink, and real estate.

It is estimated that businesses in the sharing economy sector will grow by 2,133% in the next twelve years, while companies using traditional operating models will grow only by 39.6%

Shared Workspaces Are Increasingly Popular

Shared workspaces are rented out by a third party that supplies the majority of the equipment in the office space. They are popular among freelancers as they offer a change of scenery and the chance to work in a more social environment.

According to Statista, 2.68 million people in the world used coworking spaces in 2020. This is phenomenal growth since in 2010, only 21,000 people were estimated to use shared offices. By 2015, the number of people renting a desk had grown to 545,000.

Statistics from 2019 show that Asia-Pacific has the highest number of shared workspaces in the world with 11,592 workspaces. Europe, not including the UK, Africa, and the Middle East had 6,859 shared office spaces.

When comparing individual countries, the United States and the United Kingdom have the highest numbers of shared offices. In 2019, the US had 6,293 and the UK 5,923 shared workspaces.

Globally, around 70% Would be Happy to Rent What They Own

About 72% of Americans have used shared services or sharing apps. 15% have used ride-hailing apps and 50% have bought secondhand or used goods online. 78% of the people in the Asia-Pacific region say they are willing to rent or share what they own and 81% are happy to rent from others.

In Latin America, 70% of the population say they would be happy to share or rent and 73% are willing to rent from others. In Africa and the Middle East, the percentage willing to share their property or goods is 68% and the willingness to rent from others is 71%. In Europe, only 54% are willing to rent or share what they own, and 44% would like to rent from others.

China is a Leader in the Sharing Economy

In China, 55% of the population supplies services and goods to the sharing economy, and 73% are sharing economy consumers. Contrary to the rest of the world where most of the providers and users are Millennials, in China, all age groups participate in the sharing economy at roughly the same level.

83% of Sharing Economy Consumers Will Switch Supplies to Get a Lower Price

People who are sharing economy consumers are less loyal to specific brands than other consumers. 83% will change for a supplier offering a lower price while 62% will swap for a faster and more convenient service. Outside the sharing economy sector, consumers are only 3-12% likely to switch suppliers to get a lower price or faster, more convenient service.

Airbnb and Uber Are Among the Largest Sharing Economy Businesses

Airbnb has quickly grown into one of the largest holiday accommodation providers with over 140,000 people having booked accommodation through the sharing platform. It outranks established global hotel chains including Hilton. Uber manages on average 157,000 rides per day across the globe.

Over 70% of Independent Workers Prefer Working for Sharing Economy Companies

Independent workers like the flexibility and freedom they get when working for a sharing economy company. There are also fewer barriers to entry than in traditional businesses. 72% of independent workers say they prefer being contracted workers rather than being tied into a traditional contract.

Almost 3 in 10 Would Share Their Electronics

Cars, clothes, and accommodation are not the only things people are willing to share. 28% of sharing economy users around the globe would be willing to share their electronic devices. This includes computers, refrigerators, and smartwatches.

Startups Entering the Sharing Economy Are Popular With Investors

In the last fifteen years, sharing-based startups have been popular with investors. Over 200 startups using the sharing economy model received a total of US$11.5 in funding during that time.

Outlook of the Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is expected to continue growing at an exceptional rate in the future. While some sources estimate the revenue to reach US$335 by 2025, others predict it to reach US$1.5 trillion by 2024.

Other Types of New Economies

The sharing economy is not the only new type of economy. Here is a summary of the other economy types to help you distinguish between them.   

  • Access economy emphasizes access over ownership.
  • Collaborative economy: collaborative forms of production, finance, consumption, and learning.
  • Crowd economy: economic models which are financed by the crowd.
  • Digital economy: anything powered by digital technologies.
  • Gig economy: workforce participation where the income is generated through “gigs” where a person is hired to carry out a task or a project.
  • On-demand economy: immediate, on-demand access to services and goods.
  • Peer economy: P2P networks, which are used to create projects and deliver services and funding.

Conclusion

The sharing economy, while still a relatively new form of economy, has quickly grown in size and popularity in Canada and across the globe. In 2016, it was worth more than $1.2 billion in Canada.

Airbnb and Uber are among the best-known sharing economy businesses and the number of businesses in the sector is growing at a fast pace. Currently, sharing companies operate in 133 countries and across 25 sectors. It is predicted that revenue from the sharing economy will continue to grow and will grow much faster than businesses using more traditional forms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sharing economy refers to an economic system where businesses and individuals share access to services and goods. Most often this sharing is facilitated by online platforms. It is just one of the many new types of new economies made possible by technology.

The Canadian sharing economy is worth over $1.2 billion. The revenue from the global sharing economy is expected to reach US$335 billion by 2025. However, some predict it will grow to US$1.5 trillion by 2024.

Even though using services provided by the sharing economy has rapidly grown in popularity, less than 1% of Canadians make money from it.

Globally, and in Canada Uber and Airbnb are among the most successful and popular sharing economy companies.

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