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‘Sharing economy’ sites can save you £700+ per year – research

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Consumers who embrace new technology make savings of more than £700 a year while those sceptical of new innovations miss out, new research suggests.

The rise of the ‘sharing economy’ – platforms such as Airbnb, Zipcar and Kickstarter – has divided consumers into two groups, a study from TopCashback shows.

Those in the ‘savvy sharers’ group embrace the new platforms and save up to £779 a year, while the ‘cautious scrutinisers’ who may not be aware of the technology or lack trust in them are missing out.

Cautious scrutinisers

Based on a survey of more than 2,000 people, more than three quarters of consumers don’t currently use sharing economy platforms such as Airbnb and TaskRabbit.

This group feels there is a big gap in their knowledge of what the sharing economy is with 58% saying they lack trust in services because they do not understand them.

They also lack awareness around the specifics of sharing platforms with one in five thinking they would have no control over the people they do business with.

Cautious scrutinisers tend to be older than savvy sharers – 45% of the group are aged 40 or over and more than half are 30 plus.

They also have a tendency to wait until the services become more mainstream with 14% saying they don’t use the platforms because they are too new.

But more than a third do plan to use such services in the future.

Savvy sharers

Savvy sharers make up just under a quarter of consumers and this group is engaged and educated about the sharing economy.

Topcashback said they trust services because they’re open to trying new things and because their family and friends have had good experiences.

This group also does their research and reads reviews with 18% saying they trust platforms because of good reviews.

Savvy sharers are the younger of the two groups with 79% aged 40 or under and 46% younger than 30.

The majority (61%) use platforms at least once every six months and 14% use them more than once a fortnight.

Airbnb and CouchSurfing are the most popular, followed by online market places including Etsy and Vinted while car sharing also tops the list of sites visited.

Money is the biggest motivator with more than half signing up to sharing economy platforms to either save or make money and being open to new services can mean they’re in line to gain a potential £779 a year.

Natasha Rachel Smith, consumer affairs editor for TopCashback.co.uk, said: “The sharing economy is continuing to grow in the UK with more and more services entering the arena.

“Although it is good to be cautious to an extent, ensuring you are not at risk, a lack of knowledge or fatigue toward new innovations shouldn’t stand in the way of a good deal. Simply by doing research and embracing something new, savvy sharers are seeing a huge financial benefit from using the sharing economy.”