The finding has come out of new research undertaken by Zipcar into the benefits of a sharing economy. The study reveals that nearly half of the population (47%) now rents and/or shares goods and services, generating an average saving of £531.10 per person – with the money commonly put aside to help offset food and energy bills.

Car usage tops the pay-as-you-live ‘league table’ – with new models of car sharing providing a cost-effective alternative to car ownership. The most popular reasons cited for using the pay-as-you-live economy are convenience; ability to save money; increased flexibility to upgrade models/change product styles; and to gain access to luxury goods.

‘Pay-as-you-live’ participants are also looking at other means of saving money as well – most commonly focusing on ways to offset spiralling food and energy bills, doing DIY jobs and selling unused items online.

The report also emphasised how consumers are becoming more financially responsible, with two thirds now taking more time before making big financial decisions, compared to before the recession.

Interestingly, more men than women are buying into the pay-as-you-live economy (51% compared to 44%), with men more likely to upgrade or change the style of a rented/shared item (13% compared to 7%).

According to Zipcar UK’s general manager Mark Walker, a new generation of “smart consumers” are driving the trend.

“It’s often more convenient and more flexible to hire, lend or share, and doesn’t mean compromising your lifestyle choices, as you can now get 24/7 access to the latest goods and services you need,” he said.

“Today’s technology has made the ancient act of sharing simple and relevant, to our contemporary fast-paced lifestyles.”

For more in-depth analysis on the sharing economy, read the article ‘Circular and sharing, when two become one?’

Maxine Perella

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