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Global Consumers Embrace the Share Economy

68% of Global Survey Respondents Willing to Share or Rent
Personal Items; Two-Thirds Likely to Use Products and Services from Others

Asia-Pacific Respondents Most Receptive to Share Communities;
81% Likely to Rent Items from Others

NEW YORK – May 28, 2014 – Sixty-eight percent of global online consumers are willing to share or rent their personal items in share communities for payment, according to a new study by Nielsen. Two-thirds (66 percent) are likely to use the products and services from others in a share community. 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[i].

In a share economy, also known as collaborative consumption and peer-to-peer rental arrangements, consumers rent or share items they already own, such as furniture, sports equipment, cars and homes, or services they have, for a profit.

“Share communities have given rise to an economic revolution that is having an impact,” said John Burbank, president, Strategic Initiatives, Nielsen. “There is now an established comfort level that has opened the door for sharing personal property via the Internet that may have seemed unfathomable even a few short years ago. Connecting online for activities such as shopping, managing finances, conducting research or watching videos have become an integral part of the daily routines for many.”

The Nielsen Global Survey of Share Communities polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents[ii] in 60 countries to measure consumers’ appetite for participation in share communities around the world.

“Just about anything is fair game for sharing,” said Burbank. “Owners in a share economy become both consumer and producer.”

What Consumers are Willing to Share

According to Nielsen’s survey, more than a quarter (28%) of global respondents are willing to share or rent their electronic devices for a fee. Respondents in Asia-Pacific exceed the global average at 39 percent.

Other items global respondents are willing to rent include power tools (23%), bicycles (22%), clothing (22%), household items (22%), sports equipment (22%), cars (21%), outdoor camping gear (18%), furniture (17%), homes (15%) motorcycles (13%) and pets (7%).

Nielsen information indicates that sharing goods do not need to be limited to physical assets. Twenty-six percent of global respondents will rent lessons or services via the Internet, such as music lessons or dog sitting services.

“While share communities may add another link to the value chain, it need not disrupt existing businesses,” said Burbank. “Companies can leverage the learnings to transform their customers into valued partners and consider how sharing can become an integral part of their business process. Think about rental agreements for those who prefer access to ownership, get customers involved with deliveries to local communities and brainstorm with customers to develop the next, best product innovation.”

Share Community Participation Around the World

Asia-Pacific respondents are more receptive to participation in share communities, with the highest percentage willing to share their own goods (78%) and likely to rent from others (81%). In Latin America and the Middle East/Africa, 70 percent and 68 percent of respondents, respectively, are willing to share their personal property and 73 percent and 71 percent, respectively, are likely to rent products from others.

Nielsen’s study shows that while more than half of respondents in Europe (54%) and North America (52%) are willing to rent their possessions for pay, fewer (44% and 43% respectively) want to lease goods and services from others.

Countries reporting the highest response rates for likelihood to utilize products or services from others in a share community include: China (94%), Indonesia (87%), Slovenia (86%), Philippines (85%) and Thailand (84%).

“While the Internet still has limited reach in many parts of the world, the comparatively high willingness of online consumers in developing regions to participate in share communities demonstrates how the web can quickly become part of the culture,” said Burbank. “Online consumers in developing markets often represent a younger and more affluent demographic than the general population, which can contribute to greater eagerness and enthusiasm.”

Sharing is Not Just for the Young

According to Nielsen’s survey, a combined 42 percent of global Millennial (ages 21-34) respondents (35%) and global Generation Z (under 20) respondents (7%) are likely to rent products from others in share communities. Meanwhile, 17 percent of global Generation X (ages 35 – 49) and 7 percent of global Baby Boomer (ages 50 – 64) respondents indicate they are likely to use or rent products from others in a share community. Latin America reports the highest percentage of older consumers as probable share community renters, with 22 percent of Generation X and 15 percent of Baby Boomer respondents willing to participate, exceeding the global average.

Trust Essential

“While the ability to build trust between strangers in the digital world is the foundation for share community success, it’s increasingly vital for every other business model, too,” said Burbank. “And when it comes to reciprocal feedback shared via the Internet, consumers are not shy about voicing their opinions.”

Nearly seven of 10 respondents (69%) in Nielsen’s survey use the Internet to share their feedback—whether to voice a concern, offer praise or discuss a customer service issue.  For the majority of these respondents (54%), social media are their go-to platforms.  About one-third (32%) share their opinions via manufacturer websites and 30 percent voice their feedback on retailer sites.


[ii]While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Share Communities was conducted between August 14 and September 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit


Jennifer Frighetto; 847.605.5686;