The global sharing economy is reportedly worth £22.4 billion, with more and more Britons now shunning the ‘pay now, live later’ philosophy in favour of ‘pay-as-you-live’, according to a new study.
The report, published by Zipcar in collaboration with YouGov and the Future Foundation, is called Pay-As-You-Live: The Business of Sharing in the UK, and charts the growth of a sustainable, pay-as-you-live (PAYL) lifestyle in the UK.
An increasing number of people are now deciding to share or hire products and services as opposed to buying them outright, it finds, with a fifth of all under 55s in Britain claiming that they are more likely to side with this option now than they were a year ago.
The study also reveals that since the recession, two-thirds (66%) of the UK now takes more time to make important financial decisions than they did before the financial crisis – a statistic that chimes well with figures from the Move Your Money campaign, which found that some half a million people have switched to ethical banks since January alone.
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“A number of years ago we noticed a paradigm shift in thinking, away from a desire to own assets to a more collaborative wish to access services, which is more sustainable in the longer term”, said Mark Walker, general manager at Zipcar UK, a pay-as-you-drive car club.
“We spotted a gap in the market for a new car hire model with collaboration at its heart: a pay-as-you-drive model for a pay-as-you-live lifestyle.
“This is made possible by new technologies and a desire amongst our members to simplify and improve the way they get around, on a trip-by-trip basis.”
The report appears to suggest that one of the main reasons for this shift in lifestyles is due to technological advances, with 31% of the 2088 respondents citing this as their main driver. On-going maintenance costs (45%); depreciation (38%) and upgrade potential (29%) were also mentioned.
“The PAYL generation are children of the digital revolution”, explained Pippa Goodman, trend consultant at the Future Foundation.
“They have an appetite for frequent novelty and excitement but are also dealing with the constraints of a new financial reality.
“Empowered by technology, they are embracing the convenience of new, more flexible models of ownership.”
The Zipcar report lays out an encouraging trend. Sustainability is very much a buzzword of its time, but it’ll be reassuring to many that lifestyle shifts are actually taking place.
The ‘live now, pay later’ or ‘leave the debts to the children’ philosophies are simply not acceptable in the 21st century – one of the main reasons why an increasing number of individuals are opting for ethical investment, so that they can say they’ve helped preserve the many wonders of the world.