In most developed economies, ownership was historically considered the ideal, a way to accumulate wealth and capital and secure financial independence. Success has been measured by your list of assets, an idea propagated and reinforced by the American Dream.

This has particularly been the case when it comes to home ownership. Getting on to the property ladder in the UK has been an obsession, rising to hysteria at some points. However in some countries, for example Germany or France, the perspective is different and not owning your own home is perfectly acceptable. The measure of success has changed somewhat, where how happy you are and what your lifestyle looks like on Instagram is as important as your worldly goods.

The growth of the sharing economy has created a shift in people’s perspective on the need for ownership, and to students today, sharing is not only acceptable but sometimes preferable. With the housing market the way it is, students do not expect to own a home in their 20s or even 30s, and they look at ownership in a different way to previous generations.

And this is not only inclusive of home ownership. The boom in the sharing economy makes it possible to share everything from music to cars, bicycles to boats, clothing and even pets, and in some countries you can even rent a family to fill your needs. From peer-to-peer sharing, to online borrowing, to hiring, you can get everything you could want without the need to own it yourself and fill your consumerist needs to your heart’s content.

A quarter of students would happily rent designer fashion wear, home tech, uni tech and home gym equipment. Part of this could be due to the fact that tech and fashion change so quickly. Another side of this is that our Gen Zedders are faced with the difficult balance of wanting to make ethical purchases from sustainable sources but also wanting affordable fashion, clothing or handbags. Hiring or sharing makes sense as they can still wear the brands they want without the hefty price tag, and without facing moral purchasing dilemmas.

With the sharing economy showing no sign of slowing down, if your service or product was next in line to become commercially shared rather than purchased, would you be ready to change the way your business operates to accommodate it? Is it worth considering this now to remain relevant to your student audience?

Research shows the younger the audience, the more progressive their view is on sharing and what they are willing to share, which shows us this phenomena will only gain traction and strength. So for brands this is an exciting area to play in and try to stay ahead of the curve.

To find out more, get your hands on the research or to book in a workshop, email us at