City-as-a-service: 1 out of 3 Dutch consumers believes ‘city-as-a-service’ to become a reality

by: Nadia Menkveld , Franka Rolvink

The City-as-a-service report was made in the run up to the city festival WeMakeTheCity in Amsterdam. In this report ABN AMRO looks at on one of the five circular business models: product-as-a-service. At the heart of this is the question: What are the consequences if the residents of a city shift from ownership to access.  Six consumer requirements have been defined in response to this demand: Housing, Fashion, Communication, Accommodation, Mobility, Food and, finally, Logistics play an important role. The consequences of the transition to ownership-free city for CO2 emissions, employment, affordability and time spent were examined. Furthermore, the impact of this change on companies in the sector has been calculated.

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About 15 percent of the Dutch consumers would prefer  a transformation from ownership to access  to occur as soon as possible. And 31 percent of the Dutch consumers believe private ownership will decrease and more products will be used as a service.  Almost a quarter of the consumer confirm they consider mobility-as-a-service as a very attractive service model. They believe a world in which consumers no longer pay for their own car, bike or train ticket, but pay a fee per ride, is the most realistic model. Over a third thinks that a mobility app that combines data about the weather, traffic and personal information will make private ownership of means of transportation obsolete. There also seems to be market potential for communication-as-a-service (32 percent) and house management-as-a-service (24 percent). An example of such service models are rental laptops with a 24/7 service for crashes and hacks, as well as the outsourcing of domestic tasks to a house management service. Consumers think this is a very attractive model, because of the convenience and extra time resulting from this model, enabling them to do other things. At the same time, almost half of the consumers don’t favor this concept, because they have second thoughts about privacy, safety and higher costs.

City-as-a-service requires mind-shift of consumers

According to ABN AMRO, the transition to a livable city without ownership can only become a reality if existing patterns are overturned. This will succeed if consumers experience the benefits and convenience of these models and when it will not have negative consequences for their financial situation. Existing and successful concepts in food and fashion indicate this world is closer than we think. According to GfK, 30 percent of the Dutch consumers make use of meals delivered at home, 14 percent orders groceries online and 20 percent buys second hand clothes. These new means of consuming will have an impact on employability, CO2 emissions, the profitability of companies, the way consumers spend their time and the affordability of services. Crossing out the disadvantages against the benefits, will determine if the consumer will embrace this city-as-a-service model. However, a change in attitudes will take time.