The shared economy is already making waves in the Czech Republic, as continued demonstrations in the Czech capital about the Uber taxi platform, due again to take place on Wednesday, prove. But the bark is in some sense bigger than the bite it has taken out of the traditional economy or made elbow room for on its own merits.
But the phenomenon is still nascent and set to grow big time according to a study by the Czech unit of the Deloitte consultancy. It estimates the shared economy in all its facets to be worth about 0.06 percent of the overall Czech economy at the moment. That compares with the proportion in Britain, one of the leaders of the phenomenon, where the market share is now around five times bigger at 0.28 percent of GDP.
And while the shared economy, Czech style, has already rolled out in the taxi and accommodation sectors, more can be expected. Car sharing offered by individuals or by car manufacturers, such as Škoda Auto, is one area; rental of country homes; the downloading and sharing of music and films; the offering of freelance skills and part time jobs and office space, are all areas where underused or spare resources might be turned into revenue.
While the flat and room renting Airbnb application is estimated to have grabbed 23 percent of the Prague accommodation market the figure for the Czech Republic as a whole comes to just 5-6 percent. That suggests there’s quite a lot of room for catching up in the regions.
Crowdfunding is another area where the shared economy had failed to make major inroads in the Czech Republic with one of the financial sector permutations, the loans and lending site operated by the server Zonky, estimated to have had transactions totalling 800 million crowns between January and August 2016. This is a still insignificant fraction of the hundreds of billions of crowns taken and doled out by the big banks and other heavyweights in the Czech financial sector.
And Czech awareness of the shared economy is also lagging. Deloitte’s survey suggests at the moment that 2 percent of Czechs actively participate in one way or another is the shared economy while another 20 percent have heard of it but are not active. In Spain, those figures are 6 percent and 31 percent respectively.
In fact, the Deloitte study suggests that the shared economy in the Czech Republic could grow to represent 1.7 percent of GDP in the end. That’s still behind other European countries, such as Italy where the figure is put at 4.2 percent of GDP.