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UK sharing economy to get £8bn boost in 2017

Peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions generated by the UK’s five most prominent sharing economy sectors could grow by 60% or £8 billion in 2017 alone, according to new predictions from PwC.

The five leading sectors of the UK economy include: collaborative finance, P2P accommodation, transportation, on-demand household services and on-demand professional services. P2P services let individuals interact directly with each other, without a third-party intermediary. Some of the best-known P2P platforms include Uber, Airbnb, eBay and Spotify.

Despite uncertainty over Brexit, the UK’s sharing economy is on track for continued rapid growth this year, as activity is primarily driven by more structural, longer-term trends. However, the Taylor review on Modern Employment Practices has the potential to be a watershed moment for sharing and gig economy platforms, when it is published later in the year. Across Europe, PwC’s latest projections highlight the potential for sharing economy transactions in the same five sectors to increase by 60% in 2017, equivalent to around €27 billion.


Rob Vaughan, economist at PwC, commented:

“Trust will continue to be the key sharing economy issue in 2017. To tackle this, we expect platforms to implement proactive new forms of self-regulation this year. The interaction between the sharing economy and the tax system is also set to move into the spotlight, as the implications of legal cases become clearer.


“Policy makers will need to show a bold appetite to try new policy approaches and foster a spirit of collaboration between all stakeholders to find the right balance between protection and flexibility.”


By 2025, PwC projects total transactions in the UK sharing economy could reach £140 billion, up from an estimated £7 billion in 2015 and £13 billion in 2016. Industries where cost pressures are mounting, such as healthcare and retail, are predicted to have the most to gain from the sharing economy in the years ahead and some new models in these sectors may move into public consciousness this year.

And in 2017 digital natives, who powered the rise of the sharing economy, could start to take a backseat to the “silver surfers” or over 50’s, who have already becoming the fastest growing user group for many platforms.


Rob Vaughan, said:

“Innovation will remain crucial to success in the sharing economy. A number of established players branched out into new service offerings in 2016 and we expect them to invest significantly in these this year. The success of these new services will be an acid test of whether sharing economy platforms can eventually become the established leaders of their markets, or will forever be known as the ‘disruptors’.”


Notes for editors.

The estimates and projections cited are based on PwC’s 2016 research on the sharing economy in the UK, which is available online at:


1. In 2014, our global study into the sharing economy suggested that platform revenues generated in the UK would rise from £500mn in 2013 to £9bn in 2025. Two years on and we have revisited the question of the market opportunity from the sharing economy within the UK context.
Whilst the thorough market sizing and forecasting approach we have taken is consistent across the 2016 and 2014 studies, better data availability and granularity have enabled us to deepen our analysis and refine the selection and definition of the sectors we cover.

For example, in 2014 we included the video and music streaming sector within our sectoral coverage, but did not estimate on-demand household services, which we have covered within our updated analysis. Whilst direct comparisons between the findings of the two studies should therefore be avoided, both studies reinforce our view of the significant economic potential for the sharing economy over the next decade and suggest a similar order of magnitude for the size of this opportunity. Please email for a more detailed description of our methodology.


2. The projections we cite in this press release builds on, but is separate to, the research we were asked to undertake by the European Commission on the current size and presence of the sharing economy within Europe. This research is available here:

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