1 in 3 Dutch adults see City-as-a-service as a viable option

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31 percent of the over-18 Dutch population expect that private ownership will become less important and that people will increasingly use products as a service. In its City-as-a-service report, ABN AMRO describes seven service models that are created when people living in cities start buying services rather than products.

Additionally, in collaboration with the social enterprise Circle Economy, the bank has examined the social impact of these scenarios on homemaking, fashion, communication, accommodation, mobility, nutrition and logistics. About 15 percent of the Dutch would like this transformation to take place as soon as possible. The survey was commissioned by ABN AMRO and conducted by GfK among 1,354 people in the Netherlands ahead of the WeMakeTheCity festival, which will be taking place in Amsterdam later this month.

About one quarter of the respondents said they like the idea of mobility-as-a-service. They see a world in which consumers no longer buy a car or bike of their own, but pay per ride as the most viable service model. More than a third of consumers, for example, expect that mobility apps that combine weather, traffic and personal information will make owning one’s own means of transport redundant. There also appears to be a demand for communication-as-a-service (32 percent) and homemaking-as-a-service (24 percent). An example of the former is leasing a laptop, including 24/7 service in the event of crashes and hacks. Another idea that appeals to consumers is to farm out housekeeping duties to a specialised service provider given the convenience and extra leisure time they get in return. That said, almost half don’t like this concept because they are concerned about their privacy, safety and the higher costs this could incur.

City-as-a-service requires behavioural change

The transition to a livable city where ownership is a thing of the past can only succeed if we abandon fixed patterns, ABN AMRO found. “For this to be successful,” says Franka Rolvink Couzy, Head of Sector Research at ABN AMRO, “it’s important that consumers do not lose out financially. And they need to feel the benefits and convenience this brings.” Existing successful concepts in the area of nutrition and fashion show that this world isn’t as far away as it may seem. The GfK study shows, for example, that 30 percent of the Dutch already have meals delivered to their homes, 14 percent order their groceries online and 20 percent buy second-hand clothes. “Consuming in this way has an impact on employment, carbon emissions, on company sales, on consumers’ leisure time and on consumer affordability. Whether consumers embrace the city-as-a-service concept will depend on how the pros and cons balance out. And remember: behavioural change takes time.”

Read the full report here (in Dutch only).

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