Not Just for the Young: A Look at Share Communities by Generation

Not Just for the Young: A Look at Share Communities by Generation

Many of us have power tools, electronics or sports equipment sitting idle for long periods of time between uses. At the same time, many who don’t own these items would be willing to pay to rent them. The share economy, also known as collaborative consumption and peer-to-peer rental arrangements, is helping to create a mutually beneficial marketplace for consumers around the world. So who is participating in this sharing economy? Perhaps surprisingly, it isn’t just younger generations getting in on the action. A down economy, coupled with the ease of use and reliability of the Internet, has given rise to a diverse network of part-time entrepreneurs that is turning personal assets into income.

Though modern technology has become a way of life for every generation, growing up in the digital age certainly has benefits. From banking to shopping to conducting research, Generation Z (under age 20) and Millennial (ages 21-34) consumers could hardly imagine life without the quick-click, instant-gratification conveniences that the Internet offers. Not surprisingly, greater percentages of the Millennial segment are likely to participate in share communities globally, when compared with older respondents. Nielsen reports that among the 68 percent of global respondents who are likely to rent products from others in share communities, 35 percent are Millennials and 7 percent are Generation Z consumers.

Regionally, among those willing to participate in a share economy, almost half in Asia-Pacific (49%) and Middle East/Africa (45%) are Millennials, compared with 28 percent in Latin America, 18 percent in North America and 17 percent in Europe. 

But don’t count out older generations; they’re getting involved, too.

In fact, among willing global share community participants, 17 percent of respondents are Generation X (ages 35-49) and 7 percent are Baby Boomers (ages 50-64). Latin America reports the highest percentages of older consumers who are probable share community renters, with 22 percent in the Generation X segment and 15 percent in the Baby Boomer segment, which both exceed the global averages.

By gender, men are more likely to participate in the share community than women in every region except Europe. Among the 44 percent of European respondents who say they would rent products from others, the genders are evenly split with 22 percent each. The gender split is close to even, but with men holding a slight edge, in Latin America (38% men vs. 35% women) and North America (23% men vs. 20% women).

The greatest gap between men and women share community participants is seen in the Middle East/Africa (52% men vs. 19% women) and Asia-Pacific (49% men vs. 32% women). 

The report also covers:

  • Detailed findings about the kinds of things we commonly share for profit.
  • How businesses can profit from the rise of sharing communities.
  • The importance of trust as a currency in sharing communities.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Sharing Economies Report.

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 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 its Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6 percent. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.