Millennials' Perceptions of and Drivers towards Participation in the Sharing Economy: An Analysis of the Bike Leasing Company Swapfiets and the Meal Sharing Company Eatwith

Celina Marie Koss & Svenja Müller

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


In the past couple of years, the sharing economy has become a widely discussed topic. Especially for Millennials, who count as the main consumer group of sharing economy businesses and services, certain sharing platforms such as car sharing or home sharing seem to have become an integral part of their lives/lifestyles. The relevance of this matter has therefore motivated the authors of this thesis to investigate millennial consumers’ perceptions of and drivers towards participating in different sharing economy business models. The choice has fallen on exploring a Business-to-Peer sharing economy business model offering bike leasing, Swapfiets, as well as a Peer-to-Peer sharing platform offering meal sharing, Eatwith. Subsequently, the thesis draws theoretical and practical implications from these findings. The research question and sub-questions are investigated through the theoretical lens of the Business Model Canvas, digital businesses as well as consumer culture theories such as the concept of self. Data was collected in a qualitative matter, following which, secondary data was collected by doing online research and primary data was gathered by conducting semi-structured consumer interviews. The collected data was then analyzed accordingly by applying mentioned theories. Deriving from the data analysis, three main findings have emerged: The first finding can be generated from our business model analysis of the sharing economy business models Swapfiets and Eatwith and the comparison with their traditional business model pendants. Hereby, three attributes were examined that characterize the sharing economy business model: digital competitive advantage, technology and Web 2.0, and the presence in cities. Furthermore, the findings suggest that Swapfiets’ bike leasing service caters better to the needs of millennial consumers than a traditional bike shop does. A reason for this is that Swapfiets’ value proposition successfully combines advantages and disadvantages of accessing versus possessing a bicycle. For Eatwith’s business model it was found that it fulfills the criteria of being a successful digital business model as it provides all three sources of digital competitive advantage, namely content, customer experience and platforms. The second finding emerging from the interview data revolves around influencing factors for Millennials to participate in the sharing economy in general, as well as in the sharing services of Swapfiets and Eatwith in particular. It was found that the overall motivators were based around the following themes; economic motivators (value for money, saving costs), convenience, social motivators, sustainability reasons and lack of space in cities. For Swapfiets, the economic and convenience factor were found to be main drivers for participation, whereas for Eatwith a large focus was put on the gained social interaction and unique experience from the Peer-to-Peer sharing service. The third finding, which surfaced from the influencing factors and drivers towards participation, is the formation of four specific consumption groups, to which interviewees were assigned. The four consumption groups formed, ‘Trend Follower’, ‘Social Adventurer’, ‘Green Consumer’, and ‘Economic & Convenience Consumer’, are all characterized by its members’ social linkages and specific influencing factors as for which reasons they participate in the sharing economy. Practical implications concerning the marketing of sharing economy businesses and brands are drawn from these findings. One recommendation for Business-to-Peer sharing economy companies is to promote their goods and services similar to traditional products. Hereby, branding plays an important role. However, the customer experience as well as data from platforms and partnerships can be seen as digital competitive advantage over traditional pendants and should be equally taken into account. Another proposal for Peer-to-Peer sharing economy platforms demonstrates the marketing as a digital business by emphasizing content, customer experience and exploiting external partners and data gathering. Additionally, the segmentation of target groups can be improved with the new understanding of consumers within consumptions groups. As our findings were somewhat specific to two particular sharing economy businesses (Swapfiets and Eatwith), a generalization of the results is not possible. However, a better understanding of the consumer group of Millennials can be gained from the research in this thesis.

UddannelserMaster of Business, Language and Culture, Intercultural Management, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
Antal sider134
VejledereHenrik Køhler Simonsen