Consumers in Asia Pacific are flocking to join the ‘share economy’ juggernaut, with Thais, Filipinos and Indonesians especially partial to earning dollars for renting out their personal assets. In a share economy, also known as collaborative consumption and peer-to-peer rental arrangements, consumers rent or share items they own, such as furniture, sports equipment, cars and homes, or services they have, for a profit. Revenue gained by consumers turning personal assets into income via a share economy is expected to surpass $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25 percent.
Asia Pacific consumers are among the most-receptive globally to the share economy proposition, particularly those in Southeast Asia; four of the top five markets prepared to share or rent their personal assets for financial gain hail from Southeast Asia. Just 22 percent of consumers in Asia Pacific are unwilling to share or rent their personal assets, compared to 32 percent globally.
Nielsen’s Managing Director of Consumer Insights in Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific, Vishal Bali, notes that although awareness of the share economy as a collective economy remains fairly low in Asia Pacific, there is a notable upswing in the volume of activity taking place, particularly in Southeast Asia. “While income levels across the region are increasing overall, many consumers are constantly seeking out opportunities to supplement their income through alternative means, and sharing or renting items they possess for a price achieves that.”
Willingness to pay to use others’ personal items and services is also relatively strong in Asia Pacific, but particularly in Southeast Asia. Indonesians are the second most likely globally to rent products or services from a share community, while the Philippines ranks fourth globally. Eighty-one percent of consumers in Asia Pacific say they would utilise shared products or services, compared to 66 percent of consumers globally.
Electronic devices are the most common items consumers in Asia Pacific are willing to share or rent, followed by sports equipment and clothing. Other items consumers in the region are willing to rent include household items, bicycles and power tools.
Bali observes that the items which are most commonly rented via shared communities remain out of reach for many consumers in the region, particularly those in developing markets. “Where affordability is an issue, renting an item from a fellow consumer addresses an immediate need while removing the need to find the funds to purchase the item."
Underpinning the emergence of the share economy across the region is the rapid increase in internet penetration. Connectivity is a key factor for shared communities and as such, growth levels are expected to continue in the coming years.
Insights contained in this article are taken from The Nielsen Global Survey of Share Communities which was conducted between August 14 and September 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.