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Nearly four-in-ten Germans use share economy

February 21, 2018

The shared use of cars, music, accommodation, files and more looks set to increase in Germany, a new survey shows. Germany's share economy market is worth more than €20 billion, according to the survey.

Airbnb Logo
Image: Imago/STPP

Almost 40 percent of Germans used "share economy" services, such as Uber and Airbnb in 2017, according to a survey published on Wednesday by auditing and consulting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC).

The study, "Share Economy: The New Business Model," was based on a representative survey of more than 4,500 consumers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey and Germany. Of these countries, Germany had the largest share economy market at more than €20 billion ($24.6 billion) and therefore 2,000 German participants were included in the survey.

Read more: Sharing is caring, and a growing business

Among German respondents, 39 percent said they had used share economy services in 2017, and 40 percent said they planned to use them in 2018.

Infografik Vorteile Share Economy Nutzung ENG

In Germany, the most money was spent on financial services in the year preceding the survey, with an average of €1,229, and the lowest was used for media and entertainment services, such as Spotify and Soundcloud, with an average of €62.

Read more: The most popular music and audio websites

But 23 percent of respondents used the share economy for the latter, while 20 percent said they used it for consumer goods and 17 percent for accommodation services.

German shared economy to increase

PwC predicted the trend would continue to grow in Germany, with companies like Car2Go, Spotify and Airbnb profiting.

What is "Disruption"?

In 2018, 22 percent of German respondents want to use the sharing economy for accommodation and a whopping 57 percent want to use it for media and entertainment purposes.

Read more: A look behind, and beyond, Berlin's startup scene

The sharing of accommodation, music, cars, machinery and services had become an essential aspect of the digital lifestyle in Germany as elsewhere, with turnover in the country topping 24 billion euros ($25 billion) this year, said PwC analyst Nikolas Beutin.

The study found that use of the share economy was equally distributed between men and women at 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively, and people with higher education use it more frequently.

People between 18 and 39 years old were the biggest users at 53 percent, and they used sharing services more frequently than older users, making up more than half of the total spent.

Sustainable sharing

'Disruptive potential'

Beutin said the share economy had "disruptive potential."

"Just as smartphones displaced traditional privately used movie and photo cameras a few years ago, the share economy has the disruptive potential of ownership in many areas through the temporary use of products and services to replace," Beutin said.

Some of the perceived advantages of the share economy cited by Germans included: better price for the same service (50 percent), more direct and personal interaction (25 percent), and higher attention to environmental protection (25 percent).

But respondents were also aware of the disadvantages, 47 percent cited concerns over liability for damage, 33 percent for quality defects and 29 percent for security deficits.

Standing up to the online giants

law/rc with dpa

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