Who will dominate the sharing economy

Chances of success of the sharing economy model in our society

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of abbreviations

1 Introduction

2. Literature section
2.1 Definition and demarcation
2.1.1 Definition of the sharing economy
2.1.2 Definition of society
2.2 Sharing Economy by Sector
2.3 Practical sharing economy
2.4 Sharing Economy Platforms
2.5 Historical development of the sharing economy until today
2.6 Factors influencing the success of the sharing economy
2.6.1 Technology & Research
2.6.2 Politics & Law
2.6.3 Consumers and megatrends
2.6.4 Platform providers
2.6.5 Stagnation and resource prices
2.7 Chances of success of the sharing economy by sector
2.7.1 Mobility
2.7.2 Accommodation
2.7.3 Consumer goods
2.7.4 Media and entertainment
2.7.5 Services
2.7.6 Finances

3. empiricism
3.1 Description of the data collection tool
3.2 Hypotheses and research design
3.3 sample
3.4 Statistical evaluation

4. Results
4.1 Assessment of the quality criteria
4.2 Description of the results
4.2.1 Awareness of the sharing economy and its sectors
4.2.2 User behavior of the sharing economy and its sectors
4.2.3 Planned usage behavior of the sharing economy and its sectors
4.2.4 Potential uses of the sharing economy and its sectors
4.2.5 Provider behavior in the sharing economy and its sectors
4.2.6 Planned provider behavior of the sharing economy and its sectors
4.2.7 Provider potential of the sharing economy and its sectors
4.2.8 Advantages and disadvantages of the sharing economy
4.2.9 Attitude towards the sharing economy

5. Summary

6. Critical reflection on the investigation
6.1 Limitations
6.2 Outlook



List of figures

Figure 1: Extract from the online questionnaire (source: LimeSurvey, 2019)

Figure 2: Awareness of sharing economy platforms in 2015 and 2019 (source: PwC, 2015a; own survey)

Figure 3: Use of sharing platforms in various sectors from 2017 to 2019 (source: own illustration)

Figure 4: Frequency of use of the sectors mobility, consumer goods and services in the last two years (source: own illustration)

Figure 5: Frequency of use of the accommodation and finance sectors in the last two years (source: own illustration)

Figure 6: Frequency of use of the "media and entertainment" sector in the last two years (source: own illustration)

Figure 7: Planned frequency of use of the sectors mobility, consumer goods and services in the next two years (source: own illustration)

Figure 8: Planned frequency of use of the accommodation and finance sectors in the next two years (source: own illustration)

Figure 9: Planned frequency of use of the "media and entertainment" sector in the next two years (source: own illustration)

Figure 10: Previous and planned use of sharing economy offers in 2015 and 2019 (source: PwC, 2015a; own survey)

Figure 11: Growth potential of the sharing sectors in 2015 and 2019 in comparison (source: PwC, 2015a; own survey)

Figure 12: Growth forecast for the shares of SE users up to 2021 (source: own illustration)

Figure 13: Previous and planned provider behavior in 2015 and 2019 (source: PwC, 2015a; own survey)

Figure 14: Growth forecast for the shares of SE providers up to 2021 (source: own illustration)

Figure 15: Provider potential in the sharing economy sectors (source: PwC, 2015a; own survey)

Figure 16: Biggest advantage of the sharing economy from the provider's perspective in 2015 and 2019 (source: PwC, 2015a; own survey)

Figure 17: Biggest disadvantage of the sharing economy from the provider's perspective in 2015 and 2019 (source: PwC, 2015a; own survey)

List of tables

Table 1: An overview of the generations who are most active in sharing (illustration based on Pew Research Center, 2019)

Table 2: Structure of the questionnaire (source: own illustration)

Table 3: Item scale statistics for the scale "Advantages from the consumer perspective"

Table 4: Chi-square test comparing the gender distributions in 2015 and 2019

Table 5: Usage behavior according to gender and age (source: own illustration)

List of abbreviations

Figure not included in this excerpt

1 Introduction

The act of sharing has long existed in our society. This is shown by well-known concepts such as sharing within the family, the joint use of public and private transport and the existence of shared apartments. Now sharing is experiencing a revolution through internationally successful platforms such as Airbnb, Uber and Spotify, which is changing society's relation to this consumption practice (Frick et al., 2013; Belk, 2014).

Research results from 2013 speak of a weakening of traditional property claims, in which "[...] the transitions between private and communal become more fluid" (Frick et al., P. 24). This can also be observed in the digital world, in which this consumption practice has become normal. Posts, recommendations, videos and music can be shared with one click and encourage the development of new user habits (Belk, 2014). The international trade fair for information technology CeBIT, which declared the sharing economy to be its main theme in 2015 (Zühlsdorff, 2019), showed how meaningful Internet sharing already is.

In addition to non-tangible products and services such as music streaming accounts and crafts, tangible products such as living space, vehicles, parking spaces, gardens, clothing and food are shared by means of sharing economy platforms. More unusual concepts are the rental of designer handbags or the sharing of 3D printers, workshops and knowledge in so-called fablabs (Ronzheimer, 2019; Petersen & Pearce, 2017; Benoit et al., 2017).

Despite the considerable growth of the sharing economy in Germany, the new type of sharing is "still in its infancy [...]" compared to other countries (Fell, 2017, no page). Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to analyze the chances of success of the sharing economy in Germany. For this purpose, after a brief definition of the important terms and areas of the sharing economy, its main drivers 1 are highlighted. The work focuses on sharing internet platforms in the six areas of mobility, accommodation, consumer goods, finance, services and media. In order not to go beyond the scope of the work, we refrain from analyzing other sectors such as food sharing or co-working. The ecological effects of sharing are also not addressed due to their minor importance for users (Hawlitschek et al., 2016) .

In the further course of the study, success prognoses for the six named sectors will be made based on the literature. The subsequent empirical part pursues the goal of disclosing the sharing use of German society and illuminating their attitudes towards it. Comparisons are made with similar consumer surveys from previous years in order to show developments. The above-mentioned components of the work ultimately flow into the answer to the research question: "Based on the current state of knowledge, how high is the chance of the sharing economy to be anchored in German society as a consumer practice in the long term?"

2. Literature section

In chapter two of the present work, after a definition of the sharing economy and a brief presentation of the various sharing sectors and practices, the individual areas of the sharing economy are examined with regard to their development and chances of success so far.

2.1 Definition and demarcation

In order to create a uniform basis for the present work, the following two sub-chapters define what the title “Sharing Economy in our Society” means.

2.1.1 Definition of the sharing economy

The term sharing economy describes a wide variety of sharing concepts in the literature (Ertz et al., 2019; Rinne, 2019). Katz describes the sharing economy as a business model in which an online broker serves as a market for peer-to-peer services (P2P) and facilitates the exchange of such services by reducing transaction costs (2015). A well-known example is the Airbnb housing agency platform, on which private individuals share their living space with other private individuals.

Rachel Botsman, trend researcher and author in the field of collaborative consumption, defines the sharing economy as follows: "An economic model based on sharing underutilized assets from spaces to skills to stuff for monetary or non-monetary benefits"1 (2013, no page). In contrast to Katz, Botsman also counts sharing services provided by companies as part of the economy of sharing. Examples in the business-to-consumer area (B2C) are the rental bike service of Deutsche Bahn (Call a Bike) or numerous e-scooters and bike rentals in major German cities. Business-to-business practices (B2B) are differentiated by Botsman from the concept of the sharing economy.

In the course of this work, the term sharing economy is equated with intermediary internet platforms that operate in the P2P and B2C area.

2.1.2 Definition of society

The aim of the present work is to analyze the success factors of the sharing economy in our society. The term “society” primarily means the entirety of the German population. In order to ensure a sufficient amount of research knowledge, studies from the western region, i.e. from the USA and Europe, were also used.

2.2 Sharing Economy by Sector

Our society divides in several areas. Most common in the literature is the division into the three sectors of transport, accommodation and consumer goods (PwC 2015a; Eichhorst & Spermann, 2015; Behrendt et al., 2017). In addition, services, finance and “media and entertainment” are often included in the common sectors of the sharing economy (PwC, 2015a; Eichhorst & Spermann, 2015). As part of a project by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the categories of clothing and nutrition were also created , which are generally discussed less often in the literature (Behrendt et al., 2017 / In the latest SE study by PwC, the category “machinery” also appears, which means machines and high-priced (special) tools (PwC, 2017).

The present work focuses on the six areas of mobility, accommodation, consumer goods, finance, services and media.

2.3 Practical sharing economy

Practice shows that the term sharing economy includes many different practices. In the P2P area, Behrendt (2017) differentiates between the terms lending, renting, selling, reselling, giving away, swapping and co-using. The latter means the simultaneous use of a product or service, such as a WLAN connection or a car pool, by several people (Behrendt et al., 2017). Prominent platform examples for the respective practices in German-speaking countries are Leihdirwas.de (lending), Airbnb (renting), Etsy (selling), Ebay (reselling and giving away), Kleiderkreisel (swapping) and Blablacar (co-using).

2.4 Sharing Economy Platforms

While the sharing of goods or services is possible in the offline world, the search for the right supplier or customer can prove to be difficult. This fit, the so-called “matching” between private providers and buyers, is made more efficient by SE platforms (Davidson & Infranca, 2016).

The platform operator market is characterized by a high degree of heterogeneity. Companies offer their services directly to consumers on B2C platforms. A current example is the online rental service OTTO NOW, which rents kitchen appliances, sports equipment and technology on a monthly basis (Busch et al., 2018). On P2P platforms, private individuals act as providers and / or buyers, while the platforms only act as intermediaries. They can be used, for example, to find suitable offers, make payments and send messages more easily. The connection between private providers, users and intermediary platforms is also known as platform economy (Biegon et al., 2017). A central element of these are bilateral rating systems that increase trust within a platform community and provide information about the quality of the service offered (Chen et al., 2018).

2.5 Historical development of the sharing economy until today

This subchapter deals with the development of sharing towards the digital, networked sharing economy of the late decade.

The concept of sharing is not a new one. It has been discussed a lot in history and sometimes lived on a grand scale, for example in the cooperative movement at the end of the 19th century and the municipalities of the 1960s (Frick et al., 2013; Behrendt et al., 2017). The first bike sharing model, which was founded in Amsterdam, also dates from the 1960s (Cohen & Kietzmann, 2014).

In the second half of the 20th century, the attitude towards sharing developed in a different direction. The increase in one-child families, growing prosperity and falling prices made it possible to purchase and use objects alone (Frick et al., 2013). In addition, as a further driver of development, mass production made goods accessible to broad sections of the population (Davies et al., 2017). As Bardhi and Eckhardt (2012) summarize, the form of ownership was regarded as the ideal of society at this time. Only a few areas of life, such as rental apartments and traditional vehicle rentals, were not characterized by sole use.

After decades of not practicing sharing outside of the family circle, it became increasingly less a matter of course until it was reintegrated into society at the beginning of the digital era (Gossen & Scholl, 2016; Frick et al., 2013). With the expansion of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s, a number of new business models appeared, including P2P platforms, which brought together supply and demand from often unknown people (Henten & Windekilde, 2015). While in the USA with platforms like Ebay (founded in 1995) and HomeExchange2 (Founded in 1992) the movement began, Europe followed suit with the founding of most sharing platforms over ten years later. Well-known examples are the clothing platform Kleiderkreisel, founded in Lithuania in 2009, or the German platform Wimdu, which came onto the online market in 2011 and has been selling holiday apartments and houses since then (IÖW et al., 2016).

The fact that the growth of the platform market increased significantly from 2008 onwards indicates the influence of the global financial crisis of the same year. While Russell Belk (2014) sees the crisis as a favorable condition for the growth of this market, Henten and Windekilde (2015) even describe the crisis as the cause of the sharing economy, as increased unemployment forced the population to locate new sources of income.

Modern network and communication technologies such as platforms and mobile applications have made it possible, especially in the last ten years, to expand sharing to a significantly larger extent (Behrendt et al., 2017). Since then, over one hundred sharing platforms have emerged in German-speaking countries alone (IÖW et al., 2016).

The fact that these can have a disruptive effect has been clearly demonstrated in recent years in the information goods industry (Rikfin, 2019). Streaming services such as Spotify and SoundCloud, which make it possible to listen to music without actually owning works, still determine the picture on the music market today. In the area of ​​moving images, the television industry came under pressure from the YouTube platform, which has over a million users, as Jeremy Rifkin explains in an interview with ZEIT (2014).

In the last five years in particular, the term sharing economy has increasingly moved into the middle of the population. The online service Google Trends illustrates that the search queries for the term “sharing economy” have risen sharply in Germany since 2014 and have not yet fallen to the level before 2014 (Google Trends, 2019).

As this subsection shows, the P2P sharing market has seen rapid expansion and, according to Behrendt et al. now in a "consolidation, differentiation and upheaval phase" (2017, p. 3). One example of this differentiation is provided by the sharing giant Airbnb, which was valued at around 31 billion US dollars last year (Reiche, 2019). It offers complementary services such as city tours, restaurant overviews and the creation and sharing of travel plans to round off the customer experience (Behrendt et al., 2017). How the sharing economy could develop in this phase of upheaval will be examined in detail in the next chapter.

2.6 Factors influencing the success of the sharing economy

The direction in which the sharing economy will develop in the future depends heavily on certain factors.In this chapter, five central factors are presented that are closely related to the economy of sharing and can significantly influence it.

2.6.1 Technology & Research

While sharing has always existed, modern technologies and digitization have provided a new platform for it to spread (Henten & Windekilde, 2015; Spindler et al., 2015). One example of this is the second-hand market, which, according to the Federal Environment Agency, has become more popular thanks to Web 2.0 and the mobile Internet and gained social acceptance (Gries et al., 2017). Behrendt et al. at this point name the eBay platform as the main actor in this “image enhancement of used products” (2017, p. 27).

The term technologies means more precisely modern information and communication technology (ICT), which among other things serves to simplify processes (Behrendt et al., 2017). One example is matching, which plays an important role on large platforms in particular. Since these have a particularly heterogeneous user landscape, matching is demonstrably more difficult (Li & Netessine, 2018). At the same time, platforms must reach a critical mass of users in order to be able to convey enough offers and inquiries for a smooth fit (Behrendt et al., 2017).

In addition to simplifying processes, ICT is also driving the development of new business models and developing the supply situation so that sharing offers could become even more attractive in the future (Behrendt et al., 2017). One example from the past is free-floating car sharing, which has existed since 2008 (BCS, 2018). While there were initially only station-based car sharing offers after the turn of the millennium, the technology of mobile vehicle tracking made it possible to park a rented car at location 8 instead of driving it to the next station (BCS, 2018).

One technology that could reshape the rules of the sharing economy in the future is the blockchain. This is defined as a “decentralized, chronologically updated database with a consensus mechanism produced from the network for the permanent digital securitization of property rights” (Mitschele, 2018, n.p.). Blockchain technology could radically change sharing business models as it processes transactions without an intermediary (Wirtz et al., 2019). This enables private individuals to conduct transactions such as payments directly with one another, securely and without a platform provider as a third party, which could ultimately make commercial SE platforms redundant. The blockchain is secure and insensitive to manipulation because its process takes place without human intervention (Sun et al., 2016). While trust in SE platforms is created today by rating systems and the platform provider as a third party, the blockchain does not require either of these two elements. She works without trust (Sun et al., 2016). One area in which this technology has particularly disruptive potential is the financial sector. Further information can be found in Chapter 2.7.6.

It remains to be seen whether blockchain technology will become the status quo in the sharing economy in the future. What is certain is that their emergence would strengthen the area of ​​direct P2P sharing among private individuals, while commercial intermediary platforms would lose their importance (Huckle et al., 2016). Nevertheless, well-known sharing platforms are looking to contact blockchain companies. Airbnb invited Coinbase to give a speech at its headquarters in 2014, and PayPal accepts the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which is based on blockchain technology, in certain areas (Bradbury, 2014).

The German start-up Slock.it has launched an application that enables renting, selling and sharing via blockchain (Slock.it, undated). As a rule, however, blockchains are still too slow and too expensive to be used in the mass market (Nestler, 2019). This was also evident in the financial sector last year. The cryptocurrency portal Block-Builders reported: "A joint blockchain attempt by the Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse has shown that the blockchain is slower and more expensive than traditional solutions [...]" (Lange, 2019, no page).

Another technological innovation that could support direct P2P sharing is the 3D printer. Inexpensive models in particular enable private individuals to produce goods at home, which is an alternative to commercial consumption on the market (Petersen & Pearce, 2017). Manufacturing is attractive because it has a tremendous return on investment. A study showed that the Lulzbot Mini 3D printer can achieve a return on investment of more than 100%, provided that at least one object is printed from hard plastic per week (Amber, no year). In addition, the printing software is accessible free of charge (Rifkin, 2014).

The existence of platforms such as Thingiverse (undated) and Pinshape (undated), which openly provide instructions for printing objects, shows that the production of goods using 3D printers has already penetrated the private sector. Such goods could be shared or sold via sharing platforms or private networks. Modern technologies such as 3D printers represent a strong potential transformation force for the sharing economy in the coming years (Ordonez-de-Haro & Torres, 2019).

Another technological factor influencing the development of the sharing economy is research in the field of autonomous driving. In addition to Apple, Google and Uber, all major vehicle manufacturers are also researching it (Behrendt et al., 2017). Should this technology gain market relevance in the future, the sharing economy as a whole could be strengthened. Depending on how exactly autonomous driving is used in the market, either the sharing of private cars among the population or the sharing of autonomous fleets of the big players in the market could grow. Further information can be found in Chapter 2.7.1, which highlights the chances of success of sharing in the mobility sector.

A common feature of all sharing platforms is the collection of data. Information about the consumer behavior of citizens is of great interest to business, politics and research and gives SE platforms a certain market power (McKee et al., 2018; Spindler et al., 2015). Mobility data from residents, for example, could benefit cities and municipalities in order to improve the infrastructure and offer complementary bus and train connections. In the future, depending on the data protection act, platform providers could exploit this data advantage in order to smooth out the often tense relationship with politics and to give the sharing economy good future opportunities (Rauch & Schleicher, 2015; Spindler et al., 2015).

Overall, depending on their development, technology and research can have both a supportive and an inhibitory effect on sharing.

2.6.2 Politics & Law

The legal situation of the sharing economy is an influencing factor that is getting more and more public. Above all, the topic found itself in the media in the past through the strikes of traditional taxi drivers against the mobility provider Uber and complaints against the misappropriation of living space via Airbnb.

Specifically, the unclear legal situation regarding the use of SE platforms is criticized (PwC, 2015a). A survey by PwC from 2015 showed that this lack of clarity is seen by the respondents as the main disadvantage of the sharing economy (2015a). According to the survey, more than a third of those questioned in the sharing sector would like adequate insurance cover and support from specialists.

On the demand side, the sometimes lack of transparency on sharing platforms is also a problem. In 2018, the Airbnb platform was suspected by the European Commission of not complying with EU regulations such as the orderly presentation of price composition, which is contrary to consumer protection (Kalaene, 2018) .

On the supplier side, labor law issues in particular pose a problem. Is repair assistance provided via a local SE platform neighborhood assistance or undeclared work (Behrendt et al., 2017)? Are Uber drivers bogus self-employment and are sales limits exceeded when offering products or services so that they would have to work through a trade (Dobusch, 2017)? In the area of ​​renting living space, especially in metropolitan areas, the question arises where the boundary between cohabitation and the misappropriation of living space lies (Behrendt et al., 2017).

While well-known platform giants circumvent existing regulations, e.g. in the area of ​​taxes, and thus indirectly generate costs, the small platforms and private providers are responsible for large regulatory costs due to their large number (Kowalsky, 2016; Goudin, 2016).

As the Friedrich Naumann Foundation summarizes, the sharing economy is currently still in a legal border zone in many areas, for which there is currently no uniform solution (FNFE, 2017). The European Commission described the current situation in a press release as a “patchwork of various regulatory measures” (2016a, p. 1). Furthermore, in the communication she presented non-binding guidelines for all actors in the sharing economy, especially for the EU member states. The latter were asked to align the guidelines, which cover areas such as liability, employment relationships and tax regulations, with existing laws and, if necessary, to amend them. The press release reflects the EU's stance on the regulation of the sharing economy: It would like to take the path of controlled innovation (Behrendt et al., 2017) and support the sharing economy within a legal, consumer-protective framework.

At the city level, too, the regulation of the sharing economy has been receiving more attention in recent years. In 2018, the city of Dortmund, as a pioneer in Germany, signed a contract with Airbnb that provides for the platform's accommodation fees to be paid to the city (Busch et al., 2019). In addition, cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna and Paris have set precise regulations on the obligation to report housing rentals (Jürgens, 2019; Busch et al., 2019). The “Sharing Cities Declaration”, which was signed by 42 cities around the world in 2018, is also effective at city level (Sharing Cities, 2018). It includes principles to be observed when dealing with SE platforms and their stakeholders.

In Germany, no regulation has yet come into force at the federal level. It remains to be seen whether the Federal Republic of Germany will comply with national regulations, such as the payment of taxes by platform operators such as those introduced by Belgium (Kniebs, 2017). Should a patchwork of regulations remain in the future, the sharing economy could stand in the way of a decline in growth, which would not least come from consumer insecurity (European Commission, 2016a). According to Leismann et al. (2012) through the promotion of sharing campaigns, the provision of information material for all actors as well as research funding in the SE area. Since sharing services mean more attractiveness, innovation and prosperity for cities, Rauch and Schleicher (2015) see politics in the future even as monetary support in the form of subsidies.

Dobusch (2017) rates the legislative challenge as low in many cases. According to him, even minor changes to existing regulations are enough to eliminate the problems and thus pave the way for future success for the sharing economy.

2.6.3 Consumers and megatrends

Consumers are probably the most central success factor of the sharing economy. Both their attitudes and values ​​as well as consumer behavior significantly determine the development of the sharing economy.

Behrendt et al. (2017) describes the SE-promoting attitudes and values ​​of consumers that are increasingly occurring today as follows: Due to more flexible lifestyles, property is often perceived as a burden. The attitude of the population towards used products and shared use is positive and sharing is gaining in prestige. In certain parts of the population, prestige is now less associated with products such as a private car (Behrendt et al., 2017). In addition, Belk (2014) explains that individuals can express their identity through the Internet without property. Access to products rather than ownership is becoming more important in society (Belk, 2014; Citycon, 2019).

The attitudes and values ​​described apply particularly to younger generations, who are characterized by a high level of environmental awareness (Citycon, 2019). The values ​​of Millennials, Generation X and Generation Z are also clearly reflected in their consumer behavior. Research agrees that younger consumers use the sharing economy most often (PwC, 2015a; PwC, 2017; Frick et al., 2013; European Commission, 2016b). Behrendt et al. (2017) justify this with the fact that sharing platforms meet the young users' desire for a high degree of flexibility and independence. Belk (2014) notes that it is by no means certain whether the younger generations will maintain their consumption habits in new phases of life.

Figure not included in this excerpt

(Illustration based on Pew Research Center, 2019)

The World Economic Forum names three demographic developments that are likely to strengthen the economy of sharing in the future: the global growth of the middle class, the “she economy” and the aging population (Rinne, 2019). The rapidly growing middle class consists of consumers who, with the help of sharing models, can use products that would not be tangible without such models. Furthermore, according to the World Economic Forum, women will be responsible for two thirds of the increase in disposable income over the next decade (Rinne, 2019). Since the female gender is declared to be more active in sharing in many areas, this movement will probably also support the sharing economy (Frick et al., 2013; PwC, 2017). Ultimately, the growing older generation will also participate more in the sharing economy, either for the purpose of socialization or additional income (Rinne, 2019).

Purpose et al. (2015) also find that sharing solutions increasingly represent an alternative to existing business models, also due to growing migration and high cultural diversity.

The current growth of the sharing economy could also be supported by the spillover effect. This states that SE users in one area more easily transfer their consumption behavior to sharing in other areas (Belk, 2014).

Trends are closely intertwined with consumer habits. A movement declared by the Zukunftsinstitut as a megatrend, neo-ecology, is dubbed one of the "[...] most powerful drivers of our time" (Zukunftsinstitut, 2019, no page). Neo-ecology includes some sub-trends that further strengthen the sharing economy, such as increasing urbanization (Belk, 2014). Globally, more and more people are living in cities instead of in the countryside, which results in a densification of living spaces (Zukunftsinstitut, 2019). This, in turn, is considered to be a good condition for a lively sharing market (PwC, 2017), because shared mobility solutions gain in importance with an increased scarcity of parking spaces. Shrinking living space is bringing terms such as co-living and co-working into the consciousness of the population (Kirby, 2010).

The megatrend of individualization, the core of which is freedom of choice, is also proving to be conducive to sharing (Zukunftsinstitut, 2019). SE concepts offer consumers this freedom in that decisions can be made more flexibly. The sharing economy also makes it possible to offer individual services and products (Spindler et al., 2015). An example of this is provided by the transport service provider Uber, which reported on a new app function on its website in 2016. For example, passengers in the USA can connect the Uber app with the music apps Spotify and Pandora so that they can choose which songs are played while driving (Ormseth, 2016). According to the Fraunhofer Institute IAO, digitized, individualized solutions represent “core elements and pioneers of a sharing economy [...]” (Spindler et al., 2015, p. 105).

In summary, consumer behavior and the social trends discussed lead to broader acceptance and use of the sharing economy (Behrendt et al., 2017). Behrendt et al. despite growing popularity, not from sharing as the new status quo. According to the authors, it is more likely that “[. ] a further differentiation of lifestyles, which are selectively supplemented by elements of collaborative consumption ”(2017, p. 32).

2.6.4 Platform providers

To a certain extent, the platform providers themselves determine how successful the sharing economy will be in the future. For example, trends such as the professionalization of sharing promote the user-friendliness of sharing processes (Behrendt et al., 2017). Platform providers are increasingly asking their users to behave professionally. On clothing circles e.g.This is expressed in system messages that contain tips for a more appealing presentation and description of the items of clothing for sale.

Furthermore, the market entry of new platform providers leads to an improvement in the offer, which could help the sharing market to spread further in the future (Behrendt et al., 2017). In addition to small, unknown platforms, traditional, established companies such as BMW and Daimler also appear with their shared car sharing service ShareNow (Hoppe & Hubik, 2018). According to Behrendt et al. In addition, to expand their range of offers, as Airbnb does with complementary travel services (2017).

Rauch and Schleicher (2015) also see cities and municipalities as a customer group that will increase in volume in the future. According to them, there are many products that are hardly used by cities and could be shared, such as company cars.

According to Behrendt et al. the chances of success of the sharing economy depend largely on "[...] to what extent the mediation platforms manage without investor funds and they manage to finance themselves through mediation fees and / or other sources of income" (2017, p. 26). Against the background of price-sensitive users, this proves to be problematic (Behrendt et al., 2017). According to the authors, continuation is only possible if high user numbers can be combined with low platform fees. As Behrendt et al. Other authors also estimate that there will be market concentration or even monopoly within the sectors (Copeland, 2017; Goudin, 2016).

In addition, Leismann et al. (2012) Sharing providers are only considered successful if they know how to adapt their strategy to regional, socio-demographic and contextual factors. Furthermore, the authors see the commercial providers as obliged to positively charge sharing practices in terms of communication technology in order to be successful in the future.

The area of ​​strategic business relationships of SE platforms holds great, as yet untapped potential. While the addition of platform competitors to one's own offer could certainly bring added value for consumers, this has so far rarely been practiced in practice (Marchi & Parekh, 2015; Wirtz et al., 2019).

Overall, the platform market harbors both sharing-promoting and sharing-inhibiting factors. The strategic decisions of the platform providers will have a significant impact on the future of sharing.

2.6.5 Stagnation and resource prices

Economic developments also have an impact on the success of the sharing economy. In a press conference last year, Chancellor Merkel reported that the global economy was growing more slowly than before (Die Bundeskanzlerin, 2019). The Zukunftsinstitut (2019) consequently recognizes the urgency of developing new business models within the framework of this post-growth economy that can also be deployed without economic growth.

According to Behrendt et al. (2017) show the saturation tendency of the markets, which can favor sharing. This is because sharing practices become increasingly important under economically weak conditions. According to Behrendt et al. (2017) confirmed in the time of crisis in Greece and Spain. The SE growth spurt during the global financial crisis in 2008 also suggests this (Belk, 2014; Henten & Windekilde, 2015).

In addition to economic stagnation, the development of resource prices also plays a vital role in relation to the chances of success of the sharing economy. An increase in resource prices could influence consumer behavior and support swapping and sharing as forms of consumption (Behrendt et al., 2017). The direction in which prices for raw materials and other resources will develop can hardly be foreseen at this point in time.

2.7 Chances of success of the sharing economy by sector

After five factors influencing the success of the sharing economy were highlighted in the previous subsection, this chapter focuses on the chances of success of the sharing economy and its areas. Investors around the world attribute great potential to the sharing market as a whole. This is reflected in the enormous increase in global investments in sharing start-ups from 0.3 billion US dollars in 2010 to six billion US dollars in 2014 (Deloitte, 2015). A study by PwC expects total sales of the five SE sectors covered by 2025 to be 335 billion US dollars. Estimated sales for 2015 were $ 15 billion (PwC, 2015b).

The Fraunhofer Institute IAO also estimates that in the future both private individuals and companies will own less and share more (Spindler et al., 2015). In addition, an expansion of the sharing business models to other industries is expected. In the course of the Age of Access, new, usage-oriented payment systems are being introduced (Spindler et al., 2015; Hernes, 2015).

2.7.1 Mobility

The sharing market for mobility has developed significantly since the first car sharing model from the 1980s and is now one of the fastest growing sharing sectors (BCS, 2018; Frick et al., 2013; Cohen & Kietzmann, 2014). Society's need for mobility is increasing and becoming more complex, which leads to an "evolution of mobility" (Zukunftsinstitut, 2019, n.p.). The SE mobility sector is expected to be worth 30 billion euros by 2025 (Schönberg, 2014). It encompasses the sharing of automobiles (car sharing), car rides (carpouling / ridesharing), bicycles and e- (pedal) scooters as well as the provision of driving services.

While in 2015 60% of Germans knew at least one sharing platform in the area of ​​mobility (PwC, 2015a), in 2017 16% used offers in this area (PwC, 2017). Despite this difference in awareness and usage, PwC forecast an increase in user numbers of 23% for 2018 (PwC, 2017). In general, the majority of Germans are open to offers in the area of ​​shared mobility (VZBV, 2015a). The number of users in the car sharing subsector is also increasing. In 2015, according to the Bundesverband CarSharing e.V., one million Germans shared their vehicles and three years later the number of users doubled to over two million (BCS, 2018). According to Behrendt et al. car sharing can prove itself in the long term if a "[...] spatially sufficiently dense network of providers and consumers [...]" is ensured and a critical mass of users is reached (2017, p. 43). This is especially the case in large cities, where most car sharing services are also available (BCS, 2018). Frick et al. (2013) add that rising gasoline prices or uncertain incomes expand the trend of not owning a car, which in turn results in an increased demand for mobility alternatives.

Future success is still uncertain, especially in the area of ​​ride sharing, in which consumers form car pools (Behrendt et al., 2017). Hurdles that are difficult to overcome are the lack of acceptance of agency fees and the increasing competition from cheaper means of transport.

The number of car sharing services on the market shows that traditional mobility providers such as car manufacturers also see a future in car sharing. For example, Daimler, BMW, VW, Peugeot and General Motors provide car fleets for shared use (Frick et al., 2013). As a result of the merger of the car sharing services from Daimler and BMW in 2018, the two providers achieved the highest market share in the German industry (BCS, 2018; Hoppe & Hubik, 2018).

As already mentioned in Chapter 2.6.1, autonomous driving is seen as an influencing factor in the future of sharing. In the area of ​​driving services, autonomous driving could make offers cheaper, as there were no personnel costs for drivers (Behrendt et al., 2017). As a result, shared vehicle use could become more attractive to consumers. Professional car sharing providers could use this cost advantage to offer car fleets nationwide, which could make owning a car less attractive (Hochfeld et al., 2017). In this scenario, large companies that are already heavily involved in research on autonomous driving dominate the market, while the previously known car and ride sharing companies are shrinking (Behrendt et al., 2017).

However, it is also conceivable that private individuals offer their cars online when they are not in use, so that booking requests from other people are automatically accepted and the car is unlocked (Peuckert et al., 2017). In view of the efforts of professional mobility companies that could offer a denser fleet network and low prices in the future, this scenario is considered to be rather unlikely.

In addition to the market for shared driving, the market for bike and e-scooter rentals is currently causing a stir. In the dynamic German bike-sharing market, some providers have had to withdraw quickly due to the strong competition resulting from the so-called bike boom (Reiche, 2019; Zukunftsinstitut, 2019). Nonetheless, the management consultancy Roland Berger forecast 20 percent growth in the bike sharing market per year until 2021 (Schönberg, 2018). Similarly, the Zukunftsinstitut expects a growing demand for a range of different mobility services (2019).

These forecasts can be assigned to the trend of micromobility, which also includes the electric scooters that have appeared in Germany since 2019 (Zukunftsinstitut, 2019). According to a press release from McKinsey, sales of up to 150 billion dollars in micromobility are expected in Europe alone by 2030 (McKinsey, 2019). The management consultancy emphasizes that the market for micromobility is growing two to three times as fast as that of car sharing. The associated study by the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility considers it possible that micromobility could severely weaken the traditional mobility industry in the future (Heineke et al., 2019). Even automakers like Ford are not overlooking the trend. In 2018, for example, Ford took over the e-scooter company Spin in the USA (Ford Media Center, 2018).

Overall, a future in which society moves more than it does today using shared mobility solutions is very likely.

2.7.2 Accommodation

Together with car sharing, so-called home sharing is one of the fastest growing sharing areas. For the future, a trend towards increasing demand for overnight stays in private living space is expected (Eichhorst & Spermann, 2015). When comparing the home-sharing giant Airbnb with large hotel chains, it is noticeable that Airbnb has almost six times as many rooms as the Marriott group (Airbnb Newsroom, 2019; Hubert, 2019). This is particularly noteworthy against the background of the young age of Airbnb (founded in 2008) and shows the disruptive potential of such business models for the accommodation industry (Airbnb Newsroom, 2019).

Although Airbnb has been criticized because in some cases living space is not shared but is rented out commercially on a large scale, the “Airbnbization of the consumer markets” continues (Frick et al., 2013, p. 26; Behrendt et al., 2017). According to Behrendt et al. even traditional hotels offer their rooms on the platform. In Germany, platforms such as Wimdu and 9flats are also used, which follow a system similar to Airbnb (IÖW et al., 2016). On the Couchsurfing platform, on the other hand, people host guests free of charge and without expecting anything in return (Dobusch, 2017).

Even if there are already initial regulations on the accommodation of guests via platforms at the city level, no uniform law can be identified at the EU level (Busch et al., 2019; Behrendt et al., 2017). This represents low entry barriers for providers on accommodation platforms and can have a beneficial effect on growth in the home sharing area (Eichhorst & Spermann, 2015).

One of the main drivers of home sharing growth has been shown to be monetary (PwC, 2017; European Commission, 2016b). Consumers use sharing accommodation primarily because of the financial savings and better value for money.

From the perspective of cities and municipalities, the shared use of living space can save space and money that would otherwise be needed for hotels (Rauch & Schleicher, 2015). This is especially the case in large cities with tight housing markets (Kirby, 2010). The price advantage enables platforms to put pressure on the classic hotel industry, especially in the low price range, and to gain higher market shares (Behrendt et al., 2017). In order to be able to offer more accommodations in the high-price segment, Airbnb acquired the luxury vacation home rental company Luxury Retreats in 2017 (Airbnb, 2017). In addition, an expansion of the offer of the mediation platform can be observed. As already described in Chapter 2.5, complementary travel services such as city tours complement the travel experience with Airbnb (Behrendt et al., 2017).

Against the background of these events in the market, it can be concluded that Airbnb will further expand its powerful position in the home sharing market. Only if blockchain technology were to be introduced across the board in this area could switching platforms lose market share, said TUI CEO Joussen in an interview with Manager Magazin (Müller, 2017).

How other P2P accommodation platforms will develop can hardly be predicted with today's knowledge. However, it can be assumed that Airbnb will maintain its powerful position in the P2P accommodation market due to its network and economies of scale (Behrendt et al., 2017).

2.7.3 Consumer goods

While the pioneer in the field of used products, Ebay, was founded in the 1990s, most second-hand platforms came onto the market in the past decade (Martin, 2016; PwC, 2017). According to Frick et al. (2013) will continue to increase in the future and lead to the extended use of goods. In contrast to the pioneering models, free exchange models will also have a chance to survive on the market in the future (Frick et al., 2013).

According to a study by PwC (2017), the German market for shared goods was estimated at 2.6 billion euros in 2017. Growth within this market is expected above all in the area of ​​goods that are expensive to purchase and whose parts are accompanied by increased flexibility (Frick et al., 2013). This assumption is already noticeable in the volume and growth of the car and home sharing industry. In the consumer goods sector, the forecast can primarily be applied to sharing platforms for expensive professional tools (e.g. Sharestarter), which, according to Frick et al. gain in importance in the course of the do-it-yourself movement.

Although textile goods do not have to go hand in hand with high product prices, Frick et al. (2013) also has a future in clothing sharing. While a research project by the BMBF reports that there is a tendency towards saturation in the area of ​​clothing sharing, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute sees the possibility that second-hand clothing platforms will form a new category of the fashion industry in the future (Frick et al., 2013; Behrendt et al., 2017). Whether platforms such as clothing spinning tops and clothing baskets will assert themselves in the future depends not only on demand but also on the financial viability of the business models, which, according to Scholl et al. (2015) is still uncertain. The aim here is to solve the establishment problem described in Chapter 2.6.4 and to combine high user numbers with low platform fees.

According to Frick et al. (2013) SE platforms for commodities show great potential, does not apply across all goods. Sharing critic Tom Slee argues that lending household appliances has been proven not to work (Kowalsky, 2016). While there are general swap and rental exchanges that also lend household appliances, the example of the kitchen appliance manufacturer Electrolux Slees supports this statement. After Electrolux initially carried out tests on sharing one's own washing machine in 2016, the sharing model was ultimately not introduced due to price policy and legal hurdles (Luttner, 2016). This signals that the shared use of high-priced goods, which is showing its potential in the housing and automotive sectors, is not always promising.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy also considers sharing to be of little economic importance in the area of ​​consumer goods (Busch et al., 2018). The ministry also notes that hardly any data is available on the use of sharing platforms in this sector.

2.7.4 Media and entertainment

Before product sharing regained popularity in the real world, it was primarily media such as music and films that were shared with others and paved the way for the sharing economy (VZBV, 2015a). With Napster, an online music service from the late 1990s, the media sector is one of the older (Currah, 2006). The use of streaming services such as Netflix or SoundCloud is assigned to the sharing economy, since the media content is used without being in the possession of the consumer (VZBV, 2015a).The concept is similar to a digital rental model.

According to a study by PwC (2017), 23% of German SE offers used in the “media and entertainment” sector in 2016, making this the most widely used sharing sector in Germany. The survey showed that Germans spent around 62 euros per year in this sector in 2016. For the following year of the study, PwC expected an 8% decrease in users. At the same time, users stated that they wanted to continue to use and share the media in the following year or for the first time, stated that they wanted to spend more in this area. The value of the planned increase in expenditure in Germany was 35%. According to a survey by PwC, the advantages of “renting” music tracks, films and other media content via platforms are better price and access, greater choice and an exceptional customer experience (PwC, 2015b).

The sharing sector has already demonstrated its enormous disruptive power over the past decade. The traditional branches of music, television, press and publishing have been severely weakened by media sharing platforms (Rifkin, 2019). Jeremy Rifkin, who is considered an international thought leader in the area of ​​sharing economy, sees young platform users in particular as the trigger: “[...] today, a digital generation produces and shares music, videos, news blogs, social media posts, free e-books and open ones Mass online seminars at marginal costs of almost zero ”, which makes the mass media that have been popular up to now replaceable (2019, p. 9). By low marginal costs, Rifkin means that any further use of non-tangible products such as videos causes almost no costs. As a result, the dissemination of such media is particularly easy (Sommer, 2018).

One of the advantages of online media sharing revealed by PwC is the special user experience (PwC, 2015b). Spotify determines the musical taste of its users based on the titles heard and recommends further works on this basis. Furthermore, the platform shows music titles that friends like and thus brings added value for music lovers that would hardly be accessible without such a platform (PwC, 2015b).

The media and entertainment industry has already demonstrated its disruptive power due to the non-tangible nature of the products and the associated simplicity of sharing, but according to some authors the growth trend is not over yet (PwC, 2017; Rifkin, 2014; Spindler et al. , 2015). For 2018 alone, PwC (201 7) forecast industry growth of 1,07% for Europe. The market research company MIDiA also assumes that the streaming market in Germany and worldwide will continue to grow in the long term (Mulligan, 2019). Other sources confirm the global growth forecast (Market Research Future, 2019; On.Live, 2018). According to MIDiA, the market volume of the global streaming market could double from 2019 to 2026.

The World Economic Forum predicts a further development. Streaming video games should also gain in importance in the coming years, so that consumers no longer have to download their games or purchase them in-store (Amor, 2019). In this context, Amor speaks of a "games streaming revolution" (2019, no page) and sees in this an economic significance that equals that of the television revolution of that time.

As a pioneering sector of the new sharing economy, the online use of entertainment media continues to represent a strong, growing part of the sharing economy.

2.7.5 Services

In addition to tangible products and online media, consumers can also share their skills, as is already common in America, for example, on platforms such as Taskrabbit (Stresing, 2019). Examples are various handicrafts and housework. Since unused skills and time can be better utilized, this rather new sector also belongs to the sharing economy (Martin, 2016; Alvares de Souza Soares, 2018).

In 2017, the market volume of the service sector in Germany was 2.2 billion euros, placing it in penultimate place ahead of media & entertainment (PwC, 2017). The PwC survey also showed that from 2016 to 2017 only 13% of Germans used services via platforms. In contrast, according to PwC, strong growth of 25% was expected in the service sector in the period from 2017 to 2018. While both an increasing number of users and an increasing market volume were forecast, the Germans stated that they would like to spend an average of 9% less money on sharing services in the future (PwC, 2017).

The generation of millennials is considered to be the profitable target group and main users of sharing services (PwC, 2017). Cruz et al. (2018) predict that the trend towards outsourcing household chores and handicrafts to unfamiliar private individuals could continue to grow if millennials maintain their consumption habits. Their demands on a highly flexible lifestyle strengthen the growth forecasts of SE service platforms (Frick et al., 2013).

While growth in this sector is generally expected, there are numerous negative voices in the literature about the future of this consumption practice. Behrendt et al. (2017) criticize the fact that unselfish aid that was originally free of charge is increasingly being commercialized. Harald Staun uses the term “total service society” in an article in the FAZ (2013, p. 3). After extensive system changes by Taskrabbit, its American users reported to The Guardian newspaper that their services were now paid lower and could no longer be performed flexibly (Jaffe, 2014). Haque (2015) considers it possible that in the future large parts of the population will become servants in the wake of the so-called gig economy and enable a few, powerful consumers to have a luxurious lifestyle. He criticizes the fact that the activities carried out via sharing platforms require the lowest qualifications and do not promote the potential of the providers. To what extent these assumptions will occur in the future is not clear from the literature at this point in time.

The future success of such platforms is also determined by their orientation. While Frick et al. (2013) see a growing potential in broad-based placement platforms for various household chores such as Taskrabbit and Gigwalk, platforms such as Dogvacay, in which caretakers are referred to pet owners, are viewed more as a niche phenomenon.

The German ability exchange exchange Exchange-me, which was founded in 2005, can no longer be found on the Internet and, according to the founder, was closed on LinkedIn in 2016 (Pries, undated). The American company Taskrabbit, in cooperation with its parent company IKEA, planned to appear in Germany for the first time at the end of 2019 and to offer IKEA customers support in building products (Demling & Holzki, 2019; Stresing, 2018). Against the background of this ambivalent information, it is proving difficult to draw up clear success prognoses for the service sector. The extent to which German society will accept service offers like the one from IKEA cannot yet be foreseen.

2.7.6 Finances

The German project i-Share describes the finance sharing sector as "[...] lending money as well as investing and financing in projects by the crowd as a capital provider" (i-Share, 2019b, o.S.). The crowd here means private individuals who jointly enable a range of financial services up to so-called collaborative insurance by providing financial resources (i-Share, 2019b). While crowdfunding platforms already existed around the year 2000, successful platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo were only founded around 2010, which is why this sector is one of the younger ones (Hu, 2019).

With a market volume of 7.7 billion euros in the crowdfinance sector (as of 2016), Germany is relatively far ahead compared to other EU countries (PwC, 2017). Within Germany, this sector is financially strongest, although it is used by fewer consumers than the other sectors (PwC, 2017). The reason for this lies in the high average expenditure per user of 1,229 euros in the period from 2016 to 2017.

According to VZBV, 23% of consumers use SE offers in the financial sector. This sector thus brings up the rear when it comes to the use of sharing areas (VZBV, 2015b). Tondreau and Gussé (2015) explain that P2P banking has so far been a marginal phenomenon, the growth of which has been curbed by a legal gray area and the associated consumer uncertainty.

Nevertheless, according to Botsman (2016), the sharing sector has already demonstrated its disruptive potential several times. In a first wave, companies like PayPal enabled secure, fast payment transactions between peers. Platforms such as Auxmoney, Smava and Kickstarter brought together private borrowers and lenders in the second wave, while the third, current wave is characterized by the emergence of cryptocurrencies (Botsman, 2016; VZBV, 2015a). In addition, a ten percent increase in the transaction value of crowdfinance activities in Germany is expected by 2023 (Striapunina, 2019). Other European countries such as Spain, Great Britain and France suggest similar growth, according to Striapunina.

Botsman (2016) names some factors that could drive P2P finance in the future. First, some consumers have limited access to traditional banking services, such as lending. Since collaborative finance is associated with different regulations than those of traditional banks, the above-mentioned target group could be tapped through P2P banking. A second driver is the decline in consumer confidence in financial institutions (Botman, 2016). Third, traditional banks could lose competitiveness due to their complex processes and fees. Furthermore, the so-called unbundling speaks in favor of a spread of P2P finance. By this, Botsman means that services are separated from their physical providers, as has been the case with news and education in the past. Thus unbundling in the financial sector leads to easier access to financial services.

The presented advantages of P2P finance give its platforms an edge over traditional institutions, which, according to Frick et al. (2013) do not understand the peer-assisted financial system. The authors therefore attribute boom potential to the financial sector.

Tondreau and Gussé (2015) see a two-part financial sector in the future. They predict that traditional banks will continue to exist and offer their own P2P solutions in addition to the previous service portfolio in order to remain competitive. Their already established position on the market will be their strongest competitive advantage over pure P2P initiatives (Tondreau & Gussé, 2015). According to the two authors, P2P financial platforms that do not belong to traditional banks will act as complementors. Additional services that traditional banks do not offer are provided. One example of this is financial support for small businesses (Tondreau & Gussé, 2015).

Another prediction is made by Botsman (2016). For the future fourth wave of financial change, the author predicts the expansion of peer-based insurance benefits. Since 2010, P2P insurance platforms have been set up in many countries, covering a wide range of areas such as car, household, health and life insurance (Täubner, 2019). Because of their low insurance premiums, P2P insurance models could attract more users in the future (i-Share, 2019a).

One already in chapter 2.6.1. The themed technology that enables payment transactions between private individuals without risk and without middlemen is the blockchain. Switching platforms, which are often traded as a trustworthy entity, could thus become redundant (Wirtz et al., 2019; Sun et al., 2016; Belk, 2014). With the help of blockchain technology, the granting of loans between private individuals could be greatly simplified (Stein et al., Undated). Nienhaus et al. (2018) assume that this technology could in future turn private individuals into banks themselves in the figurative sense.

The idea that banks will no longer exist in the future has been a hot topic for a number of years. While Nienhaus et al. (2018) in line with Andrey Sharov, Vice President Russia's largest bank, assume that traditional banks will become extinct, there are also voices who doubt this (Das, 2016; Taylor, 2019).

Whether traditional and P2P finance will coexist in the future or whether one of the models will replace the other cannot be foreseen at the moment. The developments of the past few years indicate a sustained growth of the crowdfinance movement.

In summary, the consumer goods and media sectors in particular have so far been able to demonstrate their success in society. Furthermore, the strongly emerging sectors of mobility and accommodation promise good future prospects. While further growth is also forecast for the financial sector, the future success of shared services in Germany is rather uncertain.

3. empiricism

While the specialist literature already provides a great deal of knowledge about the sharing economy, holistic, cross-sectoral studies 32 on its chances of success are rather rare. For this reason, such a survey should be carried out in the course of the work. In this chapter, besides the conception of the survey instrument and the research design, the hypotheses made, the sample composition and the evaluation procedure are described.

3.1 Description of the data collection tool

Since numerous research contributions have been made on the topic of the sharing economy in the last decade and there is already a broad basis for follow-up research, an exploratory, qualitative approach is not considered necessary. Instead, the development of the sharing economy should be checked for significance by means of a quantitative survey of a large sample. The data were collected through an online questionnaire, which as an instrument enables widespread dissemination and a high degree of standardization of the survey. The research director cannot influence the test subjects, as the participants do not encounter this in an online survey. In addition, the questionnaire is a cost- and time-efficient survey instrument.

Before the survey instrument is described in detail, an overview of the questionnaire structure is given using Table 2 on the following page. While the table provides information about the core areas of the survey, elements such as the welcome page and the survey of the socio-demographic data are not visualized for the sake of simplicity.

At the beginning of the survey, which can be found in the appendix, the term sharing economy was defined in order to ensure a uniform understanding of the test subjects. As an introductory question, the awareness of SE platforms in the six areas of mobility, accommodation, consumer goods, media, services and finance was asked. A survey was then carried out to determine whether sharing offers from the six sectors had been used as consumers in the past two years. Figure 1 on page 35 shows the corresponding excerpt from the online questionnaire.


1 Author's translation: An economic model that is based on the sharing of underutilized goods from living space to everyday objects to skills and that results in receiving monetary or non-monetary consideration

2 The platform is available in German-speaking countries at the address https://www.haustauschferien.com/de

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