Business / Economy

Value of Japan's 'sharing economy' estimated at over ¥500 billion in 2016

Kyodo

Japan’s so-called sharing economy was estimated to be worth over ¥500 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2016, according to government data, reflecting the rise of peer-to-peer services.

Such services, which are not included when calculating gross domestic product, would boost Japan’s ¥548.7 trillion economy by tens of billions of yen, according to a Cabinet Office report released Wednesday.

The report breaks the sharing economy down into four categories — space, goods, skills and time, and money. Space, which corresponds to services that facilitate short-term accommodations, such as Airbnb and the sharing of unused parking spaces, had a market size of around ¥140 billion to ¥180 billion.

Goods, which covers online marketplaces such as Mercari Inc.’s flea market app, was worth about ¥300 billion, while skills and time, which includes the crowdsourcing of tasks, stood at ¥15 billion to ¥25 billion.

Money, referring to crowdfunding via platforms such as Kickstarter, was estimated at ¥70 billion to ¥80 billion.

That places Japan’s sharing economy at ¥525 billion by conservative estimates and ¥585 billion on the high end. The government plans to have sharing activities reflected in GDP data in the near future.

But because GDP only accounts for the production of goods and services and not, for example, the sale of secondhand clothing or books, the actual effect on GDP is expected to be smaller than the size of the market would suggest.

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