• Sharing economy describes a recent phenomenon in which ordinary consumers start to act as salespeople, providing services previously owned exclusively by professional sellers. It is considered a person-to-person activity of obtaining, giving, or sharing access to goods and services, strengthen by the use of online platforms/services. This system allows, on the one hand, to reduce the waste associated with lack of use. In addition to enabling the increase of products’ use durability by ensuring that they are used to their full potential. Through the fast pace of people's lives, the sharing economy has flourished unprecedentedly and plays a significant role in the business market. In this context, this paper aimed to identify the motivations of Portuguese higher education students for the practice of sharing economy, and to verify if gender is a differentiator factor as for the use of shared services. To achieve these objectives, a quantitative and analytical research was developed. To collect the data a questionnaire, created on Google Forms, was applied through social networks and e-mail from March to June, 2021. IBM SPSS Statistics 27.0 software was used for data analysis that involved the use of descriptive statistics and the Chi-square test at the significance level of 5%. A total of 489 valid answers were obtained. The students were aged between 18 and 59 years old, with an average age of 21.9 (SD = 3.3), and the majority were female (57.9%). The results showed that most of the respondents are familiar with the term of sharing economy (59%) and that regularly, in the last week or month, they have recycled (79%), reused (76%), and repaired (64%) goods. Most of the individuals have already used sharing services, namely, "online buying and selling service of new and used products", for example, the OLX website (66%), and "ride-hailing service", for example, Uber's services (56%). Factors such as trust, usefulness, quality of service, environmental impact, minimization of costs, internet capacity, and familiarity with this type of service, lead consumers to shared economy practices. On the other hand, it was later confirmed that the three main consumers’ motivations, which determined the choice of a sharing business, were the creation of employment, the positive environmental impact, and the possibility of reusing already existing resources. Finally, concerning the use of sharing services, it was concluded that gender is a differentiator factor in what concerns to the bicycle-sharing service (p-value = 0.031). In fact, it was male students (23%) who used this service in greater proportion compared to female students (15%). For the success of the sharing economy, it is important that consumers have confidence in the platforms used in the dissemination of products and services, and that these are of quality, otherwise consumers will no longer purchase them.
  • The authors are grateful to the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) for financial support by national funds FCT/MCTES to CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020).

publication date

  • November 1, 2021