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15 September 2017

In the report “Retail Outlook”, Tieto and HUI Research have surveyed the growing sharing economy and its effects on retail trade in Sweden. Among other things, a consumer survey was carried out which shows that a third of all Swedes have used a sharing service at one time or another – and that among those who have tried one, many are so satisfied that they become repeat users.

The survey was carried out in cooperation with Cint and is based on a nationally representative sample of Sweden's population between 18 and 70 years with a total of 1,009 respondents. The survey shows that a third of all Swedes have at some point participated in the sharing economy, which has sprouted among both private individuals and companies. This most commonly involves sharing products with other private individuals. With regard to services, taxi trips and accommodation have attracted the highest number of Swedish users – and interest is greatest among the young population, half of those who are 35 years or younger have participated in the sharing economy.

“It took Spotify just a few years to turn the market for music upside down. It's naive to think that other industries cannot be developed in the same way. Technological development continues, and our survey shows that there is a willingness among consumers to explore alternatives to traditional ownership in many areas,” says Marie-Louise Forsberg, Head of Retail Sweden at Tieto.

In particular the transition from buying to renting is a clear trend shown by the survey. Swedish people want to be able to use high-quality products for a limited time in favour of lower costs. So currently, this concerns high-capital goods with a low utilisation ratio while other social trends are also contributing factors – such as the sharing economy contributing to a sustainable society.

“The fact that the development is heading more and more towards these types of services is supported not only by our report – it's a trend that's been highlighted from many quarters. The sharing economy is growing at a fast pace and is supported by digitalisation, technical innovation and the ongoing servicification of the retail trade. But in order for the forecasts to become reality, more pieces of the puzzle need to fall into place; transaction costs need to drop while laws and regulations need to be adapted to the new reality,” says Marie-Louise Forsberg.

According to the survey, 70 per cent of Swedes have used a streaming service for music or video and 20 per cent have subscribed to apps for newspapers and magazines. Furthermore, 14 per cent have subscribed to a food bag and 8 per cent have used a subscription service for eyeglasses. The survey shows that as long as it's hassle-free and can be done at a reasonable cost, people are interested in renting most items including clothes, bags and shoes to furniture, kitchen appliances and home electronics.

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