Since 2016, the EU has underscored the importance of the collaborative economy, namely a marketplace where consumers rely on one another instead of large companies to meet their wants and needs. Collaborative economies consist of giving, swapping, borrowing, trading, renting, and sharing products and services for a fee. A collaborative economy may also be known as a "shared economy," "sharing economy" or a "peer-to-peer economy."

The survey, conducted in 2018, found that Europeans are using the collaborative economy ever more frequently. Nearly 25% of those survey have used collaborative services at least once, most in the areas of transportation and accommodation. As for countries with consumers who only use such marketplaces, Malta (31%) ranks highest; the lowest full-time users are Bulgaria (13%) and Italy and Belgium at 14%.

Yet of those, only 4% use it regularly (once a month). But a full 88% who use it also recommend it. They say that, in contrast with the traditional economy, they prefer it for its convenient access to services (72%), availability of service ratings and review (60%), fact that services are cheaper or free (59%), and a wider choice of services (56%).

As for the negatives, 49% say that they’re too often unclear about who is responsible should a problem of some sort arise, while a third say they’re worried about misleading reviews.  Also, about a third of respondents said that they saw as disadvantages the misuse of personal data and less trust in the providers.

Interestingly, of those who use collaborative services only a third said that they replaced the use of other, traditional markets; 60% said this wasn’t the case.

As for offering such services, the number was far less: just 6%, and 20% of those who used them said they wouldn’t consider providing them.

[Text author: Paul Hockenos]