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UK is sharing economy capital of Europe

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The UK is home to 10% of the businesses involved in the global sharing economy – more than France, Germany and Spain combined – research from JustPark has found.

The US remains the global leader in the sector but London is the sharing economy capital of Europe, with one in 12 of the companies in the global sharing economy based in the UK capital. Worldwide, San Francisco and New York the only cities to have produced more sharing economy startups than London.

The research highlights the rapid growth of the sharing economy over the last few years, revealing that over half of today’s sharing economy companies were founded in 2013 or later. More than 80% of the companies were founded since the start of 2011.

Top tech stats: the sharing economy, Q3 UK startup funding decline & more

The research, which categorises companies and services within the sharing economy, shows that borrowing items is the most popular sharing economy service – accounting for 334 of the 864 global companies.

These companies allow users to borrow money, forms of transport, venues and even designer clothes from other members of the online communities.

According to an analysis by PwC in 2014, the sharing economy is currently worth an estimated $15bn per year globally, with the UK sector valued at approximately £500m. Its global value is forecast to rise to £335bn by 2025, with the UK sector estimated to grow to a projected £9bn.

UK-based sharing economy companies include peer-to-peer parking service JustPark, currency exchange platform TransferWise, and crowdfunding website Crowdcube.

Leading global players include taxi app Uber (valued at over $50bn) and property rental platform Airbnb (valued at over $20bn).

Alex Stephany, CEO of JustPark, said: “The sharing economy has the potential to change everything about how we access goods and services.

“Today, there are many high-growth businesses creating new money-making and saving opportunities for consumers and creating new social capital in society. This study depicts the state of play in today’s vibrant sharing economy.

“In time, the sharing economy will grow to be pervasive in an even wider array of industries.

“It is fantastic to see the UK at the forefront of this new business movement, bolstered by the British government’s support.

“We have the opportunity to position the UK as a global leader in this space. Digital is helping to move forward the economy as a whole and we should do all we can to drive innovation and job creation in the sharing economy.”

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