December 18, 2017

2018 Global Coworking Forecast: 30,432 Spaces and 5.1 Million Members by 2022

We recently released our 2017 coworking forecast and we are projecting continued rapid growth over the next 5 years, although at a slower rate than the industry’s recent dizzying pace.

The forecast was done this year with help from our friends at GCUC. These are the folks that produce a series of U.S. and international coworking conferences. This gives them a global perspective and information sources that have been invaluable in developing this forecast.

Scroll down to the bottom of GCUC.CO’s homepage to download the complete forecast presentation.

As the chart below shows, we’re forecasting that the number of global coworking spaces will grow from 14,411 in 2017 to just over 30,000 in 2022.

For those with a statistical bent, this is an average annual growth rate of 16.1% over this time frame.

We’re forecasting the global number of members will grow even faster than the number of spaces.  We expect the number of coworking members will grow from 1.74 million in 2017 to 5.1 million in 2022.

This is an average annual growth rate of 24.2%.

The faster coworking member growth is due to coworking spaces getting bigger in square footage as well as members per square foot. The reasons are:

  • new spaces tend to be much larger than older spaces.
  • existing spaces are expanding by adding more space and members.  
  • coworking facility operators continue to figure out how to serve more members per square foot of space.

Between 2017 and 2022 we’re forecasting the average number of members at global coworking spaces will grow by a bit over a third, from 121 members in 2017 to 169 members in 2022.

A mix of trends and shifts are driving coworking’s growth. These include:

Coworking is a global phenomenon:  Coworking is growing around the world and most major cities have coworking spaces. Asia/Pacific (which includes India in our work), and especially China, have embraced coworking, making APAC the world’s largest coworking market.

APAC is forecast to continue to grow rapidly over the next 5 years, with China becoming the world’s largest coworking market and India emerging as one of the world’s largest coworking markets by 2022.  

Other regions forecast to grow rapidly include South and Central America, Eastern Europe and Russia and parts of Africa. The relatively mature U.S. and European coworking markets are expected to grow more slowly than the overall global rate, with membership in these regions forecast to grow at around 15% per year over the forecast horizon.

Corporations are moving to coworking: The growing need for greater workplace flexibility and agility is leading more corporations to use coworking spaces for some of their space needs. This trend will accelerate over the next 5 years, especially due to corporations looking to reduce their exposure to long term leases and employees insisting on more workplace options.

The global number of self-employed knowledge workers is growing: While there are no solid estimates of the total number of global self-employed knowledge workers, it’s clear their numbers are large and growing. This growth, coupled with a growing realization of the value of coworking by independent workers, will continue to drive demand for coworking spaces.

Startups will continue to flock to coworking spaces: Startups understand the cost, flexibility and talent attraction advantages provided by coworking spaces. Because of these advantages, coworking spaces will continue to be the location of choice for most startups.

Niche spaces are expanding the coworking market:  While very large coworking spaces – and especially WeWork – get most of the attention, the number of smaller niche oriented spaces continues to grow rapidly. These spaces appeal to members with specialized interests or needs (shared biolabs, women oriented spaces, writers’ spaces, industry specific spaces, shared commercial kitchens, etc.) and attract people who likely would not join a traditional coworking space.

For more details, see the full forecast presentation on our website. Go to our homepage, scroll down towards the bottom and enter your email address to download the forecast presentation.