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New Research Finds UK Consumers Earning and Saving £4.6 Billion Through the Sharing Economy

Image credit: The People Who Share

New research commissioned by The People Who Share shows that 65% of adults in the UK are already part of the sharing economy, and a further 28% would consider taking part, if they don’t already. Conducted by Opinium, The State of the Sharing Economy polled 2,005 adults in the UK to demonstrate the growing consumer appetite for the sharing economy, just in time for Global Sharing Day 2013 on Sunday, June 2nd.

“Smart UK consumers who currently share are benefiting from £4.6 billion worth of savings or earnings. The sharing economy is the people’s sustainable economy and is a good deal for everyone," said Benita Matofska, CEO of The People who Share and originator of Global Sharing Day (the first of which took place in November). "According to this research, those that share can benefit up to £400 per year per person, with some benefiting as much as £5,000 per year.” 

"I think it's really important to show the breadth and depth of sharing activity," said Neal Gorenflo, co-founder of Shareable. "This changes our idea about ourselves, that we actually share a lot or perhaps more than we think we do. This goes for the narratives we craft about our own individual lives, but also the collective story of society that the press helps to shape. The press needs [this type of] data for their stories."

“With 64% of the adults population now already sharing, according to Opinium research, this is no longer a niche activity, it’s now part of how people live their lives,” said Kate Hinton, Director of Trust PR.

The sharing economy is being driven by both consumer demand and businesses' appetite for more sustainable growth. With more than 10,000 sharing businesses now operating globally — including companies such as Compare and Share, Airbnb, Zipcar, Blablacar, Liftshare, LoveHomeSwap, ParkatmyHouse and Sooqini, to name a few — the economy is now valued at £330 billion globally and £22.4 billion in the UK, according to Collaborative Consumption.

With 15 million tonnes of food in the UK currently wasted between plough and plate, food sharing, such as at a picnic, pot luck dinner or street party, has a vital to role to play in the movement. In partnership with Meal Sharing, Marks & Spencer's "shwopping" initiative and The Big Lunch, The People Who Share is aiming to set the world record for the most people sharing food in a single day on Global Sharing Day on June 2nd.

Food sharing is already one of the UK’s favourite sharing activities, with 29% of the population saying they participate, and a growing number of organisations is now working to divert waste food away from landfill to those who need it. FareShare ensures that surplus food goes to those most in need — last year, 10 million meals were delivered to people living in food poverty from food that was diverted away from landfill; the Trussell Trust has seen a 170% increase in the number of people given food boxes over the past year and a 76% increase in the number of food banks set up; and Casserole connects people who want to share meals with elderly that are in need.

You don't have to live in the UK to take part in Global Sharing Day! Find out how you can join in the worldwide event on June 2nd.


Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor at Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]