Collaborative economy, the business model that makes “pschittt”

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The collaborative economy was born from collaborative consumption based on the sharing or exchange between individuals of goods and services, we think of The Good Corner, Airbnb or Uber to name but a few.

The sharing of knowledge is also no exception to this new mode of consumption, with the ancestry of online courses whether on YouTube or dedicated platforms such as Udemy.

This collaborative consumption is initially a means for individuals to save money and therefore a good opportunity to combat the “impact of the crisis”.

This has been made possible in part by the emergence of digital technology, which greatly facilitates all these new processes; all these exchanges are indeed accelerated thanks to more and more connected (and more and more) players.

The collaborative economy may also suggest an ecological advantage at first sight, one thinks of Blablacar and its carpooling naturally, but also of all exchanges between individuals thus avoiding “overconsumption”.

However, this can be questioned when an individual who sells or rents equipment for example to another individual, this exchange often results in a car trip that can often be more important than moving to the nearby professional, so CO2 emissions go hand in hand.

According to the PWC study, the European market is expected to reach $570 billion by 2025; an expected average annual growth rate of 36.4% and a market increase of more than 20 in 10 years. As far as the national territory is concerned, the market is currently worth 4 billion euros, but the forecast is 83 billion euros for 2025.

Today in France, it is nearly 300 dedicated platforms and 70% of them are French.

According to a COFIDIS – CSA study, 95% of French people have already used this type of consumption and this amounts to 495 euros (613 euros for 25-34 year olds) on average of earned and saved per person per year.

Bordeaux: champion of the collaborative economy


This year again, the business research firm Asteres was interested in the penetration of the various platforms for sharing between individuals: Leboncoin, Airbnb, Blablacar, Ouicar, Allovoisins, Stootie and Zilok in order to rank the top 30 cities in France.

Thus, based on the indexes of sharing of sales, services, housing and transport, Bordeaux is for the second year in a row the first position of cities where the collaborative economy is the most developed.

This is characterized by the birth of many dedicated start-ups, from the La Vethitèque clothing library to the European Chair in Collaborative Economy ETXECO, not to mention the recent launch of the first collaborative delivery platform in France PostTRIP. The capital of Girona is a major player in this economy in France.


An “out of bounds” rather well framed …

For a long time, the collaborative economy had been oversty with very vague limits on its taxation. Shadows are now discarded. If the only cost-sharing service, without additional remuneration, remains tax-exempt, most of the collaborative economy is subject to tax requirements.

All regular income is thus taxed under industrial and commercial profits (BIC).

The government provides for these activities the micro-enterprise scheme as long as they do not record a turnover of more than 82,800 euros per year for the sale of goods, objects, supplies, food and housing activities. For service activities, the threshold is set at 33,200 euros per year, it benefits industrial and commercial and liberal professionals corresponding to non-commercial profits.

This scheme offers some advantages such as exemption from VAT or simplified accounting and tax obligations.

But also flat-rate revenue allowances for taxable income in the order of:

  • 68% for the sale and provision of housing activities
  • 45% for other merchandise sales activities (BIC)
  • 25% for service activities

However, these thresholds can be exceeded by up to 91,000 euros for sales activities and 35,200 euros for services activities.

But beware if these thresholds are exceeded two consecutive years, the company’s scheme will become a conventional individual enterprise like the micro-enterprise scheme previously applied.

To conclude on the tax return related to this economy, the government plans from January 1, 2019, the platforms will be required to automatically transmit the revenues (property, BIC, BNC …) recorded by users.

How profitable are these platforms?

6 to 12%; this is the commission charged by Airbnb as an intermediary. Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, the company has raised a total of $3.1 billion since its inception and began to become profitable only in 2016, 8 years later, which is a notable performance in the world of collaborative start-ups!

If we take the example of the UBER platform created a few months later, we see that the company is still largely in deficit and would have lost since its launch nearly 4 billion dollars. The company still spends much more than it returns money and this phenomenon is due to the “creation of a new market” according to the French spokesman of the firm.


Listening to business opportunities

Attitudes are changing, according to a study by Lokéo and the Opinionway Institute 37% of French people say they have trouble managing their budget and are willing to rent their goods such as the car, DIY tools, their appliances and even their multimedia products to remedy them.

Interesting when we know that the same study states that for more than three-quarters of French people, renting or subscriptions are good ways to have fun and discover new products and services.

Today, of course, the sharing market already has its big names and it may seem difficult to settle there.

However, the figures do not lie, if the volume is to reach 85 billion euros by 2025 it is because there is something to do, knowing that the most sensitive to this type of consumption concern the younger generation (25-34 years) and that there will be a new generation to seduce.

A new generation marked by expectations that will be ever more demanding in terms of accessibility, speed and personalization.


Patrick BONTE – Bordeaux Business


PWC study

Cofidis study – CSA

Asteres study

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