Making Sense of the UK Collaborative Economy

Author:  Kathleen Stokes, Emma Clarence, Lauren Capelin, April Rinne
Date published:  September 2014
Research commissioned by: Nesta in collaboration with Collaborative Lab

Why we chose this research?

This research gives a clear overview of the collaborative economy practices in the United Kingdom. More specific, the research answers some important basic questions such as: What is the collaborative economy? Who is operating in it? Who is participating in it? In addition, the report also addresses the question: How should we appropriately regulate and manage the collaborative economy? 

Key findings

The national survey with a sample size of 2,000 UK adults revealed that: 

  • There are a increasing number of startups and platforms who operate with the collaborative economy model across different sectors such as; Crowdfunding and peer–to–peer platforms in banking institutions; Open online courses in higher education; P2P time bank to to encourage volunteering in public services.
  • However, not all collaborative organisations are new. Established corporations are also participating with often by aligning themselves with collaborative businesses or adapting their models to incorporate collaborative traits, i.e. DriveNow joint venture between BMW and Sixt. 
  • In 2013, 64% of the UK population have taken part in collaborative activities with 25% of the number used internet to participate in the collaborative economy.
  • Most of the population take part in collaborative activities that involve clothes and accessories sector, media sector, and household goods sectors with the percentage of 43%, 34%, and 20% respectively.


Stokes, K., Clarence, E., Anderson, L., & Rinne, A. (2014). Making sense of the UK collaborative economy (pp. 1-47). Nesta.