With the use of a series of mathematical equations exploring a variety of scenarios, this study from New York University examines the economic impact of rental versus ownership in the peer-to-peer marketplace. The study focuses on the automobile industry: new and used purchase of cars are each worth about $500 billion in the US annually.

The real-world impact of peer-to-peer markets enables convenient access to previously unattainable durable goods for a significant portion of lower-income individuals. This can free up their income for other essentials of life, but rental markets, though providing a welcome income stream to the physical owner, do also present the reality of a more rapid depreciation and increased maintenance costs.

A deep investigation into the real costs of ownership versus rental opportunity provides valuable analysis of the rapidly-growing Peer-to-Peer rental marketplace in the United States and how it impacts consumer behavior.

Key findings:

  • Cars are convenient assets to make available on a Peer-to-Peer rental platform, with average owner utilization at less than five per cent.
  • At present, only a fraction of the community has real access to Peer-to-Peer car rental markets and an even smaller percentage of these have real access.
  • Despite this fact, analysis predicts dramatic changes in automobile ownership.