Kowrk.com’s KoSpace Founders Say series has given readers a close look into what it’s like being a coworking space Founder. To better understand their entrepreneurial journey, a glimpse at their most valuable assets is useful. And of course, every entrepreneur’s most valuable asset is the same: their customers.
The graph below shows the breakdown of the type of customers who use coworking spaces. % refers to the respondents’ Founders who selected if the particular customer type used their space. Hence, responses are not mutually exclusive. To better understand and compare users of coworking spaces, we categorized the responses by region – Asia and rest of the world.
1 Early Stage Startups 2 Small companies 3 Digital Nomads
4 Professional Freelancers 5 Tourists & Travelers 6 Work From Home Exec
7 Companies needing workspace 8 Others
Globally, professional freelancers and small companies are the leading types of customers at coworking spaces. However, in Asia, small companies and early stage startups form the majority. Freelancing also seems to be FAR more prevalent in the global market than in Asia. We see a large majority of Freelancers either working from home or coffee shops in Asian countries.
In global markets, coworking spaces are able to attract a diverse customer-base, ranging from non-profits with limited or no budget, to students, to solopreneurs (referred as ‘others’ in the chart).
Work from home executives are regular users of coworking spaces in Asia. Smaller houses with non-dedicated work area, unreliable infrastructure like internet and electricity and long commute time are some of the main drivers of such behavior.
Though traveling businesspeople are a common sight in Asia’s large cities, many of them tend to use coffee shops and cafes to conduct some of their business. This is again a different pattern than their counterparts in other countries, who tend to prefer the professional environment of workspaces and meeting rooms at coworking spaces for business. These individuals represent an untapped market, which for Asian coworking space, is a potentially lucrative opportunity.
We also found that the qualities of the aspirational customer base, who Founders of coworking spaces want working at their space, remain similar across regions, e.g. ambitious, creative, energetic entrepreneurs who are keen to develop themselves and their community are generally preferred.
In summary, though there are common type of coworking spaces users across the globe, spaces in Asian countries still have SME and small startups as their main customers. There are few customer types like tourist and travelers, students and non-profit companies that can be attracted to these spaces. As an owner or founder of a coworking space in Asia, are you focusing on these potential customer segments?