Number Of Coworking Spaces Worldwide To Double Within The Next 4 Years

Though in 2020 the coworking market is forecasted to grow at around half the rate as the previous two years, growth is expected to rebound from 2021 onwards.
  • Recent research has found that the number of coworking spaces worldwide is projected to reach almost 20,000 in 2020.
  • In 2020 the coworking market is forecasted to grow at around half the rate as the previous two years, due to the coronavirus.
  • However, the study expects growth to rebound from 2021 onwards, with a yearly growth rate of 21.3% until 2024.

A new study reveals the current state of the global coworking and flexible space industry, and the impact of the pandemic on its projected growth.

CoworkingResources and Coworker.com pooled their resources to publish the 2020 Global Coworking Growth Study. The information is based on their own proprietary data including workspace listings and pricing, alongside data from Google Trends and Deskmag.

Top takeaways include:

  • The number of coworking spaces worldwide is projected to reach almost 20,000 in 2020.
  • The number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to more than double by 2024, and surpass 40,000.
  • In 2020 the coworking market is forecasted to grow at around half the rate as the previous two years, due to the coronavirus.
  • However, the study expects growth to rebound from 2021 onwards, with a yearly growth rate of 21.3% until 2024.
  • Around 5 million people will work from coworking spaces by 2024, an increase of 158% compared to 2020.

“The industry is quickly recovering from the impact of Covid-19, and some regions have already reached pre-crisis levels”

2020 Global Coworking Growth Study

Where are the Biggest Markets and the Biggest Spaces?

The US is home to the world’s biggest coworking and flexible space market, with over 3,700 shared workspaces across the country. This is followed by India (2,197 spaces) and the United Kingdom (1,044 spaces).

Based on yearly growth in 2020, out of the largest markets, Germany and India are the two fastest-growing, followed by the United States and Canada.

China is the country with the largest coworking capacity, with an average of 282 people per space, which is more than twice the average capacity of spaces in the US (105 people).

North America and Asia have the largest spaces in the world, with an average size of 9,799 sq ft and 8,101 sq ft respectively.

Smaller spaces are more commonly found in Europe and South America.

Size and capacity is normally linked with profitability. But with spaces forced to reduce capacity for physical distancing during the pandemic, it remains to be seen how heavily this reduction in foot traffic will impact spaces of all sizes around the world.

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The global average price per desk dropped by 2.14% between 2019 and 2020.

According to the report, this illustrates the increasing supply of new flexible offices, which is ramping up competition and forcing spaces to lower their desk prices. Again, prices may fall further due to the impact of the coronavirus and the need to reduce capacity for the short-term future.

The only exception is Europe, where prices have increased by almost 12% over the past 2 years.

What are Workers Searching for During the Pandemic?

As expected, in light of the current situation, online searches for the term ‘coworking’ dropped dramatically during the onset of the coronavirus.

However, searches are recovering quickly and have already surpassed mid-2018 levels.

Interestingly, workspace requests show much deeper insights. Based on over 3,000 requests between February 2020 (pre-lockdowns) and May 2020 (post-lockdowns), the study found a shift toward private offices (as the type of space most commonly requested), along with longer-term contract durations and higher capacities (of desks needed):

  • 26% higher number of seats per request.
  • 96% longer contract terms.
  • 76% higher share of requests for private offices compared to individual seats.

The report concluded: “In a post-COVID-19 world, these statistics make it easy to predict that coworking will become even more mainstream, especially since companies are shifting to remote-first workforces.”

One observation is, can we still refer to a sector that is shifting towards private offices as ‘coworking’? Should this shift continue, it may further question how we refer to this sector to avoid confusion among the people who use it. But for now, this report provides a positive glimpse into the immediate and longer-term future of the industry, which looks set to bounce back and resume its strong growth trajectory from 2021 onwards.

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