Pew Releases Results of First-Ever Survey of Sharing Economy

Pew Research CenterThe Pew Research Center today released the results of its first-ever survey of the shared, collaborative and on-demand economy, finding that 72 percent of American adults have used at least one of the 11 different shared and on-demand platforms.

About one in five American adults have contributed to an online fundraising project on a site like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, and 30 percent of those have contributed to a musician or other creative artist.

Full press release below:

Nearly Three-Quarters of Americans Have Used a Shared, Collaborative or On-Demand Online Service
Yet 28% of U.S. adults say they have not used any of these platforms, and many are wholly unfamiliar with the tools and vocabulary of the new digital economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2016) – The first-ever Pew Research Center survey of the shared, collaborative and on-demand economy finds that 72% of American adults have used at least one of 11 different shared and on-demand platforms. About one-in-five Americans have used four or more of these services, and 7% have used six or more.

At the same time, the national survey of 4,787 U.S. adults finds that 28% have not used any major sharing or on-demand platforms, and many are wholly unfamiliar with these services. For instance, 61% of Americans have never heard of the term “crowdfunding”; 73% are not familiar with the term “sharing economy”; and 89% are not familiar with the term “gig economy.” Similarly, 15% of Americans have used ride-hailing apps like Uber or Lyft, but twice as many have never heard of these apps before. And 11% of Americans have used home-sharing platforms like Airbnb or VRBO, but roughly half have never heard of home-sharing sites.

While each of these services has its own user profile, exposure to these platforms is largely concentrated among certain demographic cohorts – in particular college graduates, those with relatively high household incomes and younger adults:

• Some 39% of college graduates have used four or more of these services, compared with just 8% of those with a high school degree or less.
41% of Americans with an annual household income of $100,000 or more have used four or more of these services, three times the proportion among households earning less than $30,000 annually.
• 33% of those ages 18-24 have used four or more of these services. By contrast, just 5% of those 65 and older have used four or more of these services, and 56% of older adults have not used any.
• “The sharing economy has been the subject of much ongoing debate, but these services are impacting consumers to widely varying degrees,” said Aaron Smith, associate director at Pew Research Center and author of the study. “Some Americans have deeply integrated these platforms into their day-to-day lives – but a larger number exist on the fringes of the sharing and on-demand economy.”

This report, the first in a series that will examine the contours of the new digital economy, explores three platforms in detail: ride-hailing apps, home-sharing services and crowdfunding sites. The report analyzes which Americans are using these services, as well as public attitudes towards these new commercial entities and the regulatory and employment issues that surround them. The data:

Ride-Hailing Apps

• 15% of American adults have used a ride-hailing app, with 3% indicating that they use ride-hailing on a daily or weekly basis.
• The median age of adult ride-hailing users in the United States is 33, and 18- to 29-year-olds are seven times as likely to use these services as are those ages 65 and older (28% vs. 4%). Ride-hailing use is also heavily concentrated among urban residents – especially younger urbanites and those with relatively high levels of income and educational attainment.
• 86% of ride-hailing users feel that these services save them time and stress, while 80% feel that they offer good jobs for those who want flexible working hours.
• Just 11% of users think that these services collect too much personal information about their users. And a sizable majority of users feel that these services use drivers that they feel safe riding with (70% feel that this describes these services well, while just 5% disagree).
• Nearly half of U.S. adults (48%) have heard about the debate happening in cities across the country over how best to regulate these services. Ride-hailing users themselves are following this issue especially closely: 85% of ride-hailing users have heard at least something about this debate, and 39% indicate that they have heard “a lot” about it.
• Among Americans who are following this regulatory debate, 42% feel that these services should not be required to follow the same rules and regulations as existing taxi companies. Among ride-hailing users who have heard of this debate, a larger share – 57% – believe that these services should not be required to follow the existing regulations that are in place for incumbent providers.
• In some ways, users recognize that these services represent a different way of doing business: 58% of users view these services as software companies who simply connect drivers with people who are looking for a ride, while 30% view them as transportation companies that have a lot of control over the overall customer experience. Similarly, 66% view ride-hailing drivers as independent contractors who work for themselves, rather than as employees (23%).
• At the same time, users assign a great deal of responsibility to these apps when it comes to several aspects of the day-to-day customer experience. For instance, 68% believe that drivers and services have a joint responsibility to make sure that drivers are properly trained, and 23% believe this is the sole responsibility of the services.

Home-Sharing Platforms

• 11% of U.S. adults have used a home-sharing site. Americans ages 35-44 are nearly twice as likely as those ages 18-24 to have used home-sharing services (16% vs. 9%), and the median age of home-sharing users in the United States is 42.
• When presented with several attributes that might define home-sharing services, users respond especially strongly to the notion that these services are a good option for families or people who travel as a group (87% of users feel that this describes home-sharing sites well) and that they are a good way for homeowners to earn extra money (85%).
• Roughly half of users (53%) say these services are best-suited for adventurous travelers; 42% say the properties on these sites are not always as appealing as they seem online; and around one-in-five (18%) say they are generally risky to use.
• 37% of home-sharing users report that they have used these services to reserve a single room or other type of shared space in someone’s home (this works out to 4% of all U.S. adults). Some 48% of those who have stayed in this type of shared lodging say they worry about staying with someone they have never met before, and 66% of these users feel that home-sharing services are best for adventurous travelers.
• As with ride-hailing, home-sharing users generally understand that these services are structured much differently from a traditional hotel company – yet they also assign varying levels of responsibility to these services when it comes to different aspects of the customer experience. Fully 58% of users view them as software companies who simply connect people who have a free space with people who are looking for a place to stay, while 26% view them as hospitality companies who have a great deal of control over the user experience. At the same time:

• 67% of home-sharing users believe that both individual homeowners and the services themselves should be responsible for making sure that properties are described accurately.
• 57% of users believe that both homeowners and services should be responsible for resolving payment issues between hosts and guests.
• 53% of users believe that both homeowners and services should be responsible for addressing problems that might come up during someone’s stay.

• Compared with ride-hailing apps, relatively few Americans have been following the debate over the legality and regulation of home-sharing services: 22% of Americans have heard something about this issue, with just 6% indicating that they have heard “a lot” about it. Among users of home-sharing services themselves, 19% have heard “a lot” about this issue, while 37% have heard “a little.”
• Among home-sharing users have been following this debate, 56% believe that these services should be legal and that owners should not have to pay any local hotel or lodging taxes; 31% believe that owners should be able to legally rent out these services but should have to pay taxes for the privilege of doing so.

Crowdfunding Sites

• Around one-in-five U.S. adults have contributed to an online fundraising project on a site like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, and 3% of Americans have created their own fundraising project on one of these sites.
• 87% of donors say they have contributed to a total of five projects or fewer on these sites. And while 62% of donors have given $50 at most to an individual project, relatively large donations are not uncommon: 21% of donors have given between $51 and $100 to an individual project, 14% have given between $101 and $500, and 3% have donated more than $500 at one time.
• 68% of crowdfunding donors have contributed to a project to help someone facing some sort of hardship or financial challenge, making it the most common type of project of the five evaluated in this survey. In addition to these types of projects:

• 34% of crowdfunding donors have contributed to a project to fund a new product or invention.
• 32% have contributed to a project for a school.
• 30% contributed to a project for a musician or other creative artist.
• 10% contributed to a project for a new restaurant or other type of business.

• Among those who have contributed to a crowdsourced project to help someone in need, 63% say they have given to help a friend of a friend or an acquaintance, while 62% have contributed to help a close friend or member of their family. By contrast, just 7% of these donors have given to a campaign to assist a public figure, while 28% have given to help someone who was not a public figure but whom they did not know personally.
• Male donors are roughly twice as likely as female donors to have contributed to six or more projects and are also nearly twice as likely to have contributed more than $100 to an individual project.
• Women are more likely to contribute to a project to help someone in need, while men are more likely to help fund new products or inventions, as well as projects for musicians or other creative artists. Younger men are especially interested in funding new products and inventions: 48% of men ages 18-49 who have made a crowdfunding donation have contributed to this type of project.

The data from this report is based on the December wave of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults living in households. The survey was conducted Nov. 24-Dec.21, 2015, among 4,787 respondents (4,317 by web and 470 by mail). The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 4,787 respondents is plus or minus 1.94 percentage points.

Read the report: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/05/19/the-new-digital-economy/

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dana Page at dpage@pewresearch.org or 202-419-4372.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on our Fact Tank blog.


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One thought on “Pew Releases Results of First-Ever Survey of Sharing Economy

  1. Saurabh Hooda

    That’s a great research on Sharing economy. Sharing economy is really a valuable asset to the humanity. We should all encourage it.
    Book readers can share (borrow, lend or exchange) “print” books with book readers near them (same neighborhood or college) using Lenro. Let’s save money & meet the book readers nearby.

    Reply

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