Sharing Economy: Travel and Finance Update

July 15, 2016

IpsosAllianz-Sharing-Economy-vs-Traditional-Travel-Svcs-Jul2016More than 1 in 3 American adults are likely to use sharing economy services – such as AirBnB or Uber – during their summer vacation this year, reports Ipsos in a survey conducted on behalf of Allianz. That’s more than double the proportion (17%) who last year planned to do so, and aligns with new research from Hitwise, a division of Connexity [download page] displaying growing participation in the sharing economy.

The Ipsos and Allianz survey shows that Americans are quickly becoming more familiar with sharing economy services:

  • Some 62% are familiar with Uber, up from 35% last year;
  • More than 1 in 3 (35%) are familiar with AirBnB, up from 19% last year; and
  • Likewise, more than 1 in 3 (34%) are familiar with Lyft, more than double last year’s proportion (15%).

Services such as HomeAway (18%), Get Around (11%) and Feastly (10%) lack the same amount of familiarity, but have also grown in awareness from last year.

Recent data from the Pew Research Center indicates that 15% of American adults have used ride sharing services such as Uber, and 11% have used online home-sharing services such as AirBnB.

Interestingly, that Pew report found the broadest usage of ride-sharing apps to be among 18-29-year-olds, but that 30-49-year-olds were the most likely to use online home sharing services. That’s backed up by new data from Hitwise, a division of Connexity. In examining visits to various sharing economy sites, the report shows that online Americans aged 35 and older represent the majority of visits to sites like VRBO, AirBnB and Home Away, and are 10% more likely than 18-34-year-olds to visit space sharing sites. By contrast, though, 18-34-year-olds over-index in visits to more “casual” room sharing sites such as Couchsurfing, and also over-index in visits to shared workspace sites such as WeWork.

Returning to the Ipsos survey, the results indicate that planned use of sharing economy services while on vacation is higher among men (41%) than women (31%), while also being highest among youth and the higher-income. It’s worth noting that respondents with a college degree (45%) were also considerably more likely than those without (28%) to plan use of these services. That tracks with the Pew report, in which college graduates were more than twice as likely as the adult average to report having used home sharing sites.

The Ipsos report also takes a look at how sharing economy services measure up against traditional travel and booking services across various dimensions. While most respondents either rated them the same or were not sure, sharing economy services beat out traditional services in value (“better value for money”) and authenticity (“the more authentic local experience”). However, traditional services were far more likely to be seen as offering the best overall experience, the better quality product, the better booking experience and better customer support when things go wrong.

Meanwhile, another aspect of the sharing economy relates to financial services, such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. In fact, the above-mentioned Pew report indicates that more Americans (22%) have contributed to an online fundraising project than have used a ride-sharing app or home-sharing service.

According to the Hitwise data, 18-34-year-olds substantially over-index in visits to crowdfunding sites, being 40% more likely than the average to do so during the first quarter of this year. In particular, they were 33% more likely to visit Kickstarter and 22% more likely to visit IndieGogo. However, adults aged 35 and older were more likely to visit P2P lending sites, registering a 9% above-average propensity to visit both Lending Club and Prosper.

That’s interesting in light of a MarketingCharts study of youth and financial services, which showed that young adults are driving the newer trends in financial services, including prepaid cards and robo-advisors. The research also indicates that women are driving conversations on Facebook about peer-to-peer payments.

Overall, visits to sharing economy websites more than tripled in Q1 2016 compared to Q1 2014, per the Hitwise data. Visits to space sharing sites were up by 169%, while visit to the top financial sharing sites soared by 329%.

About the Data: The Ipsos and Allianz results are based on a survey conducted May 3-10, 2016, among 2,007 US adults aged 18 and older.

The Hitwise data was collected from January 4 – April 2, 2016.


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