Zipcar report reveals that half the UK’s population buys into a ‘pay-as-you-live’ lifestyle

Oct 9, 2012

LONDON (9th October, 2012): Zipcar, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIP), the UK’s largest pay-as-you-drive car club, today publishes its report ‘Pay-As-You-Live: The Business of Sharing in the UK’, revealing that the UK’s younger generation (aged 18-54) is fuelling the growth of a pay-as-you-live lifestyle (PAYL)1. According to the report almost twice as many Brits aged between 18 and 54 would choose to hire rather than buy, compared to those aged 55+ who place a higher value on ownership.

The new research, published in conjunction with YouGov and the Future Foundation, explores growth of the pay-as-you-live lifestyle, most recently valued at £22.4 billion in the UK2, as Brits increasingly shun ownership in favour of hiring or sharing goods and services.

From ownership to pay-as-you-live

The report reveals that the trend towards hiring and sharing is accelerating rapidly across the UK, with one in five under 55’s saying they are more likely to hire now than they were a year ago, equating to almost double the number of those aged 55 and over.

The findings suggest that the pay-as-you-live model of consumption is being driven by a smarter and more considered approach to spending. It reveals that Brits are taking longer to consider purchasing decisions with 66% acknowledging that they are taking more time making big financial decisions than they did before the recession (Oct 2008) and three in five (60%) admitting that they are working out the cost per use when deciding to hire something over buying it outright.

Mark Walker, General Manager, Zipcar UK, said: "A number of years ago we noticed a paradigm shift in thinking, away from a desire to own assets to a more collaborative wish to access services, which is more sustainable in the longer term. We spotted a gap in the market for a new car hire model with collaboration at its heart: a pay-as-you-drive model for a pay-as-you-live lifestyle. This is made possible by new technologies and a desire amongst our members to simplify and improve the way they get around, on a trip-by-trip basis."

Cost-savings and Convenience

Whilst the total cost of ownership is a key consideration when making purchasing decisions, respondents also cited on-going maintenance costs (45%), depreciation (38%) and the flexibility to upgrade or change styles/models depending on the occasion (29%), as key factors when determining whether to hire or purchase goods outright.

The Zipcar research further highlights advances in technology and self-service business models as catalysts for fuelling this shift. It found that almost one in three (31%) of the PAYL Generation believe that advances in technology have helped to facilitate the proliferation of the pay-as-you-live lifestyle.*

Pippa Goodman, Trend Consultant at The Future Foundation, comments: "The PAYL Generation are children of the Digital Revolution. They have an appetite for frequent novelty and excitement but are also dealing with the constraints of a new financial reality. Empowered by technology, they are embracing the convenience of new, more flexible models of ownership. Automotive is one category where there has been real progress in evolving offers for the pay-as-you-live lifestyle, with services such as Zipcar providing hourly hire from convenient locations with all costs included, compared to the traditional model of a full-day minimum hire."

Items for hire

Whilst the research uncovered that expensive items such as cars and holiday homes top the list of things that Brits would consider hiring and sharing, it also found that much of the PAYL Generation would not rule out hiring less traditional items, such as art (49%**),clothing (47%**) and children’s toys (54%**), as they become increasingly comfortable with the pay-as-you-live lifestyle.

Mark Walker, General Manager at Zipcar UK continues: "We commissioned this research to understand more about the UK’s attitudes towards sharing and hiring. We understand from our members that alongside cost; convenience, simplicity and reliability are all key drivers fuelling a pay-as-you-live lifestyle and with our simple mobile application, we provide our members with a ‘car in their pocket’ and access to over 1,500 cars available by the hour, at convenient locations across London, Oxford, Bristol and Cambridge."

The Zipcar Pay-As-You-Live report is available for download here.

Notes to Editor

Zipcar’s report "Pay-As-You-Live: The Business of Sharing in the UK" was commissioned by Zipcar in conjunction with YouGov and the Future Foundation to uncover attitudes to hiring and sharing across the UK. It features a number of UK case studies of brands facilitating the pay-as-you-live lifestyle in the UK including, Zipcar, onefinestay, Girl Meets Dress, Desk Wanted, Mini Lodgers, Storemates, Park at My House and Rdio.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2088 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd - 5th September 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

1 Pay-as-you-live definition: PAYL Generation n: people born and living in the UK post Second World war aged 18-54, who because of advances in technology, and growing awareness of economic issues and environmental factors, are increasingly likely to hire and/or share goods and services on a temporary basis, choosing to make the most of their full usage potential, rather than buying outright.

2 What’s Mine is Yours: the Rise of Collaborative Consumption, Rachel Botsman (2009)

*When asked "To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Advances in technology which enable you to rent/hire items on the go via your smart phone/Facebook etc. is a key factor in enabling the public to rent/hire items as and when they need them?" 31% agreed

**When asked "Which if any, of the following would you never hire/rent?", ‘51%’ gave "art", 53% gave "clothing, shoes and/or accessories" and 46% gave "children’s accessories" as one of their answers.

About Zipcar

Zipcar UK is part of the Zipcar Inc, the world's largest pay-as-you-drive car club with over 731,000 members and more than 11,000 vehicles in urban areas across the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Spain and Austria. In the UK, Zipcar operates in London, Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford and has local authority partnerships in Kent and Surrey. London is the largest Zipcar network in the UK, with over 1,500 cars across 31 London boroughs. Zipcar members benefit from: 40 miles of fuel, insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance, road tax and the Congestion Charge when travelling in London. Zipcar offers a dozen models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car. More information is available at

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