The sharing economy offers exciting opportunities for change across cities. By sharing under utilised resources, landlords can attract more customers, who then benefit from access to more affordable spaces and services in prime locations.

Pioneering asset management firm Keys AM seeks to differentiate itself by challenging the status quo of real estate assets and business models, and finding alternatives that release value beyond traditional real estate. They asked us to help them identify opportunities and strengthen partnerships in the emerging sharing economy.

The problem

Keys AM sees the sharing economy as a strategic opportunity, and a means of unlocking value for its clients and for people living and working in cities across the world. But while shared assets may be increasingly attractive to investors and developers, many end-users state that shared spaces
are still not affordable for most people.

Much work remains to be done to lower the cost of living in urban environments so that everyone can have the opportunity to live and work sustainably in global cities.

The considerations

It will take a concerted effort by companies, governments, investors, media – and sharing economy participants themselves – to work together to bring about systemic change. As part of this effort, Keys AM asked us to provide insight into those markets and drivers that underpin the sharing economy across northern and central Europe.

To guide their investment in the sharing economy, Keys AM also wanted to gain a deeper understanding of its impact on real estate in the office, residential and retail sectors.

The implementation

We carried out ‘in-context’ research via people’s mobile devices and engaged with customers living and working in shared assets to understand more about the drivers and benefits of shared space.

Our strategic recommendations then helped Keys AM to:

  • Know how to meet the functional and emotional requirements of end-users, and work effectively with partners and stakeholders to create valuable shared assets;
  • Design spaces that deliver on the needs and expectations of end-users and operators already working in this arena; and
  • Build a strategy rooted in a new understanding of the roles of stakeholders in transitioning concepts into actions, and thus harness investment opportunities.

The benefits

Our research revealed that investment in the sharing economy is not just philanthropic: it offers rich opportunities for commercial financial return. The findings and tools we provided to Keys AM will help them invest in stable products, businesses, and operating models – and achieve fruitful long-term return.

By viewing property investments as operational assets, our work shows that investors can access a growing market opportunity that offers the potential for greater long-term reward.