We put the UK's sharing economy to the test!
It’s hard to avoid the sharing economy here in the UK, whether we’re sharing our homes, cars, clothes or food, we’re making the most of assets that would otherwise go unused, as well as meeting like-minded and interesting people along the way. A recent PWC study found that the “UK’s sharing economy has grown the fastest in Europe, with transactions almost doubling to £7.4bn in 2015.” It’s clear to see that the UK’s sharing economy is big business.
How has it grown so fast? Because “the UK is a digitally literate and entrepreneurial population”. At Vrumi we’re growing pretty fast too, having launched in January 2015 with just 80 spaces, we now have over 800. We’re helping people earn money from their unused living rooms, kitchen tables, garden sheds and rooftop gardens - and we’re helping them do that up and down the country.
In June of this year, we set ourselves a challenge to travel around the UK to spread the word about Vrumi, and we wanted to see how far we could get using just the sharing economy. Here’s our experience.
With meetings and events across the width and breadth of the country, and a few boxes of flyers and promotional material in tow, the only way to travel was by car. Luckily, HiyaCar were on hand to help us find a car that was easy to request and book without a hitch. We picked up our almost new Alpha Romeo for the week, and off we went.
HiyaCar say that in the UK the average car remains idle 23 hours a day, and at an average annual cost of £6,000 per year, can we really afford to keep our cars off the road, when it could be put to good use by someone else? They’ve also found that the average car will lose 60% of it’s value in the first three years. Doesn’t it make sense we make the most of our assets?
It was important for us to stay in the centre of town no matter where we went, but in true Vrumi style, we wanted to make sure we stayed somewhere that was both comfortable, had a bit of character, and met some hosts with local knowledge. Airbnb makes it simple to find a whole house, the spaces are unique, and the hosts are friendly and helpful when introducing us to a new city.
It’s well documented that Airbnb has shaken up the accommodation sector. With over 2 million homes listed in over 190 countries, searching for a place to stay overnight on Airbnb just made sense. In the UK alone, there are 45,000 homes listed, showing just how huge the sharing economy has become in this country.
Finding a place to work in an unfamiliar city could have been an issue. Coffee shops are convenient for a quick stop, but aren’t practical for a full days work. The space you occupy isn’t truly yours during that time. If you’re having to rely on staff or strangers to hold your place or watch your valuables whilst you run to the facilities or grab a sandwich, it may be proving counter-productive. Having our own Vrumi spaces in the cities we visited gave us the ability to call a space our own for the day.
We recently reported that surroundings can affect productivity by as much as 20%. With physical and psychological benefits, the choice to work in homes that are inspiring and open yet also private and comfortable is becoming increasingly more important. PeoplePerHour have also reported that half the UK population will be freelance by 2020, meaning workspace must also become more flexible, and what’s more flexible and accommodating than the sharing economy?
Want to be a part of the UK’s burgeoning sharing economy? Join Vrumi today!