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The sharing economy in Canada

Released: 2017-02-28

From November 2015 to October 2016, an estimated 9.5% of persons (or 2.7 million people) aged 18 and older living in Canada participated in the sharing economy by using peer-to-peer ride services or private accommodation services. Overall, spending on peer-to-peer ride services in Canada and spending on private accommodation services both in Canada and abroad totalled $1.31 billion.

The sharing economy—which can be defined as an activity facilitated by digital platforms where people rent their skills (such as, driving or computer skills) and make their resources (such as properties or cars) available for money—has the potential to play an increasingly important role in the Canadian economy.

In an attempt to measure its impact, Statistics Canada asked people living in Canada the extent to which they used or offered peer-to-peer ride services and private accommodation services.

Looking at each service individually, 7.0% of persons aged 18 and older in Canada used peer-to-peer ride services, while 4.2% used private accommodation services. Spending on peer-to-peer ride services totalled $241 million, while more than $1 billion was spent on private accommodation services.

During the same period, a small proportion of Canadian adults indicated that they had offered peer-to-peer ride services (0.3%) or private accommodation services (0.2%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Proportion of the population aged 18 and older that used peer-to-peer ride services from November 2015 to October 2016, by age group, Canada
Proportion of the population aged 18 and older that used peer-to-peer ride services from November 2015 to October 2016, by age group, Canada

Use of peer-to-peer ride services highest among younger Canadians

The use of peer-to-peer ride services was highest among people aged 25 to 34 (14.6%) and 18 to 24 (13.5%). Peer-to-peer ride services were used by 2.1% of people aged 55 and older. Differences in the use of peer-to-peer ride services between younger and older age groups held true across all provinces. Estimates of users are calculated based on the place of residence, which may differ from the location in which the service was used.

An estimated 17.6% of people aged 18 and older living in Ottawa–Gatineau reported using a peer-to-peer ride service, the highest proportion among the eight most populous census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in Canada. In the 12-month period to October 2016, 14.8% of people aged 18 and older living in Toronto and 9.8% of those living in Edmonton used a peer-to-peer ride service.

Users of peer-to-peer ride services were almost evenly split between men (51.1%) and women (48.9%).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Proportion of the population aged 18 and older that used peer-to-peer ride services from November 2015 to October 2016, by selected census metropolitan areas
Proportion of the population aged 18 and older that used peer-to-peer ride services from November 2015 to October 2016, by selected census metropolitan areas

Almost a quarter billion dollars spent on peer-to-peer ride services

People aged 18 and older spent $241 million on peer-to-peer ride services in Canada in the 12 months to October 2016. The average spending by Canadian users of peer-to-peer ride services in Canada was $122.

Use of private accommodation services highest among Canadians aged 25 to 34

Similar to peer-to-peer ride services, use of private accommodation services was highest among Canadians aged 25 to 34 (8.6%), 35 to 44 (4.8%) and 18 to 24 (4.4%). Use of private accommodation services was lowest among people aged 55 and older (2.1%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Proportion of the population aged 18 and older that used private accommodation services from November 2015 to October 2016, by age group, Canada
Proportion of the population aged 18 and older that used private accommodation services from November 2015 to October 2016, by age group, Canada

Two out of five (39.8%) users of private accommodation services were living in Ontario and approximately one-fifth (19.5%) were living in Quebec. By comparison, 38.9% of the adult population lives in Ontario while 23.4% lives in Quebec.

Among the most populated CMAs, more people aged 18 and older living in Ottawa–Gatineau (8.5%), Calgary (7.6%) and Vancouver (6.1%) reported using private accommodation services. The CMAs with the lowest proportion of users of private accommodation services were Winnipeg (3.1%) and Quebec (3.6%).

Chart 4  Chart 4: Proportion of the population aged 18 and older that used private accommodation services from November 2015 to October 2016, by selected census metropolitan areas
Proportion of the population aged 18 and older that used private accommodation services from November 2015 to October 2016, by selected census metropolitan areas

At the national level, users of private accommodation services were evenly split between men (49.7%) and women (50.3%). In most provinces, the distribution of users by sex was similar to what was observed at the national level.

Canadians spent over one billion dollars on private accommodation services

From November 2015 to October 2016, Canadians spent almost $1.1 billion on private accommodation services both inside and outside of Canada, for an average of $890 spent by each user. Of that total, $367 million was spent in Canada, while $698 million was spent outside of Canada. The average spending by Canadian users of private accommodation services in Canada was $307, while it was $584 for those who used the service outside Canada.

A small proportion of Canadians offer sharing services

Approximately 72,000 people aged 18 and older living in Canada reported offering peer-to-peer ride services during the 12 months to October 2016. Just over 75% of providers of peer-to-peer ride services were living in either Ontario (50.1%) or Quebec (25.7%).

About 69,000 adults living in Canada indicated that they had offered private accommodation services, most of whom were living in Ontario (31.1%), Quebec (26.4%) or British Columbia (25.1%).






  Note to readers

Definitions

Peer-to-peer ride services, such as Uber or Lyft: Services that connect riders and drivers through a mobile application that acts as an intermediary and processes the payment from the rider to the driver.

Private accommodation services, such as Airbnb or Flipkey: Services that connect travellers and hosts through a mobile application or website that acts as an intermediary and processes the payment from the traveller to the host.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) consists of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a population centre (known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000, of which 50,000 or more live in the urban core.

Data for this study were derived from seven questions added to the October 2016 Labour Force Survey (LFS). Respondents aged 18 and older living in the provinces were eligible for the questions.

The analysis focused on the eight most populated census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in Canada: Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa–Gatineau, Québec and Winnipeg.

Variations across provinces and CMAs in the use and provision of peer-to-peer ride services and private accommodation services may reflect differences in legislation and regulation of services across Canada. In addition, estimates of the number of users and providers are calculated based on the place of residence, which may differ from the location in which the service was used.

The questions asked were:

1. In the past 12 months, did you use ride services such as Uber, Lyft, etc.?

2. In the past 12 months, what was the total amount that you personally spent on these ride services in Canada?

3. In the past 12 months, did you use private accommodation services such as Airbnb, Flipkey, etc.?

4. In the past 12 months, what was the total amount that you personally spent on these private accommodation services in Canada?

5. In the past 12 months, what was the total amount that you personally spent on these private accommodation services outside of Canada?

6. In the past 12 months, did you offer ride services such as Uber, Lyft, etc.?

7. In the past 12 months, did you offer private accommodation services such as Airbnb, Flipkey, etc.?

The response rate for these questions was 88%. The LFS has a sample of approximately 100,000 individuals.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Myriam Hazel (613-219-4345; myriam.hazel@canada.ca) or Client Services (toll-free 1-866-873-8788; statcan.labour-travail.statcan@canada.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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