Alternative finance is a relatively new phenomenon, with most providers less than a decade old. Yet its rapid growth has meant it is already providing significant amounts of capital to UK individuals and businesses.
To examine whether this growth is driven by niche pockets of UK society, or if it is beginning to gain prominence more widely, we commissioned two national surveys to gauge awareness and usage amongst the consumer and business populations.
Consumer awareness of alternative finance
Awareness of some type of alternative finance among the over 2,000 individuals surveyed was relatively high. Fifty–eight per cent of those asked were aware of at least one type of alternative finance presented to them with 42 per cent completely unaware of any type. Yet usage of alternative finance remains quite low. Just 14 per cent of those surveyed (less than a quarter of those aware of alternative finance) had used any type.
Looking across the different alternative finance models there is relatively little variation in the levels of awareness, yet it is not necessarily the same people who are aware of all models. Just 16 per cent of the total (or around a quarter of those aware of any model) were aware of all types of alternative finance presented to them. Fewer than 2 per cent had used all 4 types. There was slightly higher usage of donation or reward–based crowdfunding. P2P consumer lending also registered a higher level of awareness and usage.