Why the sharing economy is here to stay

From dog-walking, car sharing to caravan rentals the global sharing economy is forecast to increase to $335bn in 2025 from a mere $15bn in 2014 according to Statista

The sharing economy is where assets owned by members of a network can be temporarily accessed by other members of the network, generally through an online platform. The first phase saw initial Ebay type marketplaces buying and selling goods and services with a then huge explosion in ‘sharing’ platforms like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft offering people a chance to make extra money out of their existing assets and now becoming multi billion dollar peer to peer platforms

Airbnb, currently expected to be valued around $18bn (April 2020) has serviced over 750 million guests since 2007 in 220 countries. Airbnb has more total listings than the top five hotel brands combined. The growth has been staggering with 25 million bookings and 1.2 million properties in 2015 growing 750% to 187 million bookings globally in 2019 and 7million properties.

dog camping

So what’s this mean for the UK travel sector then?

What originally started as a trend adopted by millennials for its convenience and affordability and for trendy urbanite making a few extra bucks has driven fundamental change in the holiday and stay habits if the public

  • Ongoing shift away from hotel stays and Covid has accelerated this trend with over 50% of hotel users now ‘Airbnb’ or private rental users
  • We estimate over 8 million trips were taken in the UK in 2020 above normal volumes due to Covid driving Staycation demand
  • Short Term rentals allow social distancing, bespoke accommodation and families to stay together
  • People want more ‘experience type’ trips out of cities and in nature
  • Short Term rentals offer stays in non urban areas where hotel capacity isn’t available
  • Holiday rentals and camper/motorhome/boat ownership and rentals are booming as more owners see the opportunity to ‘share’ their assets to meet demand
  • 58% of Airbnb customers are under 40 and 74% under 50 who are most tech savvy
  • The fastest growing AirBNB owners are women over 60 showing that even though users may be younger, people renting out rooms, places and vehicles tend to be older

Sure but why is this good news?

The positive and social side to the sharing economy is certainly one area that expanded over the years. Companies such as BorrowMyDoggy and Share Your Pet, which connects animal owners with local animal lovers who would like to spend time with them, have sprung up across the world. As have companies that aim to make people’s holiday or travel experiences easier while benefiting everyone involved. One example is Camptoo, a company that matches owners of campers, caravans and motorhomes with people who want to rent them short-term.

  • Camptoo has seen a 150% increase in bookings in 2020 even with Covid as more people use vehicles for vacations in the UK
  • Camping popularity is soaring anyway. Since 2010 the British are buying 14000 new campers and vehicles per annum
  • Furthermore the desire of owners to rent, like AirBNB is also growing with around 3,000 vehicles now listed on UK sharing platforms
  • Following Airbnb growth Ed believes over 20,000 vehicles will be on Camptoo and others by 2025 a 700% growth.

Ed Bassett, UK General Manager writes

“We have seen the dramatic growth in Airbnb, Uber and really cool ‘social value’ platforms like Borrow my Doggy. The growth in platforms enabling the public to share assets, including dogs in campers (laughing) continues to grow globally including the UK. What we are seeing is a shift in how the British public think about their property and vehicles (and dogs) both as self use but as investments and giving something back. Sharing feels good.

We totally appreciate renting out a room, a holiday home or a camper is not for all, but we are seeing many owners step up to create really wonderful ‘experience’ opportunities in treehouses, holiday cottages, glamping tents, boats and of course campers. At the same time individuals can make strong income streams from idle assets and enjoy the creative aspects alongside the financial and social benefits of having guests. It enables any one of us to become an entrepreneur and business person in something that can be hugely rewarding in many creative and social ways. Hope the dogs get some extra walks in too!”

Sharing Economy UK

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