Survey: Many Americans Still Don't Share

Bikeshare station in Denver Colorado. Despite the convenience, a majority of Americans still don't participate in the sharing economy, according to a new study. Max Hartshorne photo.
Bikeshare station in Denver Colorado. Despite the convenience, a majority of Americans still don't participate in the sharing economy, according to a new study. Max Hartshorne photo.

Despite the Convenience, The Sharing Economy Hasn't Yet Reached Most Americans, Report Concludes

By Max Hartshorne

On a recent business trip to Denver, I took advantage of many of the familiar tools travelers use...I hired Uber cars to get around the city two or three times each day. I stayed in an Airbnb owned by a local couple, and I rode on a bike-share bike that I plucked from a rack near Union Station.

Though I am familiar and comfortable using these 'sharing economy' tools, I am in the minority, according to a study published by Allianz in June 2018. Here are the details about how most Americans DO NOT USE commonly accepted services like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb, despite how popular they all are among the media people I often travel with.

This shows that there is plenty of room for growth, and we will be seeing many new innovations in terms of sharing, including scooters, big rig Trucks, shared vans and even using vacant restaurants as daytime workspaces.

The Survey

While Americans are growing more familiar with sharing economy services, the intention to use these services is declining in favor of more traditional services. According to the fourth annual Allianz Travel Insurance Sharing Economy Index released by Allianz Global Assistance, 53 percent of Americans declared they are either “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to use sharing economy services during their 2018 summer travels.

The New Allianz Travel Insurance Sharing Economy Index is Out

That’s despite Americans’ consistent belief that sharing economy services offer a more authentic local experience and better value for their money. Sixty-two percent of Americans find sharing economy service providers to be “very” or “somewhat trustworthy,” down three percent from last year. Today eight in 10 Americans are familiar with at least one sharing economy service, with the familiarity of services strongest among younger generations.

Leading the sharing economy trend, an overwhelming 93 percent of Millennials (ages 18-34) are familiar with sharing economy services. Boomers (ages 55+) have experienced the largest increase in familiarity over the past few years, with 70 percent of the group familiar with at least one of these services in 2018, up from 57 percent in 2017 and 49 percent in 2016. Of Gen X’ers (ages 35-54), 88 percent are familiar in 2018.

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Analyzing specific sharing economy services across age demographics, recognition of Uber, Airbnb and HomeAway has remained steady over the past year, while familiarity with Lyft has increased significantly by 10 percent since 2017.

Looking at trust, three out of four (76 percent) Millennials and those earning over $50,000 (67 percent) are most likely to trust sharing economy services, compared to seven in ten (68 percent) of Gen X’ers, almost half (46 percent) of Baby Boomers and less than six in ten (54 percent) of Americans making less than $50,000.

This year, Americans are likely to rate traditional services as superior to sharing economy services, with traditional services seen as offering the better product, booking experience, customer support when things go wrong and overall experience.

Despite the propensity of Millennials to use sharing economy services, one-third (33 percent) believe traditional services provide the best overall experience, up from 22 percent in 2017.  It was also revealed they believe traditional services offer better customer support when things go wrong (38 percent). A quarter (26 percent) of Millennials say traditional services offer a better-quality product.

“This is the first time we’ve seen intent to use sharing economy services decline, particularly among millennials, which is surprising as they led its early adoption,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance. “

Millennials appreciate the value and authentic local experiences that are offered by sharing economy services, while they also like the product and overall experience offered by traditional services. Travel suppliers vying for the millennial market this year should capitalize on their strengths and try to shore up their weaknesses.”

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The Allianz Travel Insurance Sharing Economy Index also gauged Americans’ awareness of co-living and co-working spaces, a new addition to the survey this year. Men lead the curve in the knowledge of this latest type of service, with 22 percent of men familiar with co-working spaces, versus 12 percent of women. The same percentage of men (22 percent) are familiar with co-living spaces, compared to 10 percent of women.

The Sharing Economy Index has been conducted each summer since 2015 by national polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance.

*Methodology: These are findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 Americans from the Ipsos I-Say panel was interviewed from May 2 – 5, 2018. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all American adults been polled. Quota sampling and weighting were employed in order to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population.

This post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and I have received financial compensation.

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