73% of Americans are Unfamiliar with the Sharing Economy

Posted by Bianca Wilk

Do Americans even know what the sharing economy is? How many Americans participate in the sharing economy? How fast is the sharing economy growing?

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a study answering these questions. Even though the sharing economy is becoming more widespread and accessible, many don’t know what it is. It’s sometimes called the gig economy (unfamiliar to 89% of Americans) or the sharing economy (unfamiliar to 73%).


Other terms,on-demand and collaborative consumption, were not tested by Pew but familiar to us at Vijilent. Call it what you like, but it’s when two people use a platform to find each other to utilize unused resources such as a room, a car, time or even money (think crowdfunding).

Overall, 72% of Americans have used at least one of them. Pew concluded that the usage of these platforms varies widely across the population. Eleven different on-demand services were analyzed.

Among other findings, it was revealed that: Ride-hailing apps are used by 15% of American adults, Home-sharing platforms by 11%, Crowdfunding sites used by 22%.

Furthermore, 27% of Americans are aware of ride-sharing companies and that they are available in their area, but they have not tried them yet.

Which of these terms are you familiar with? Which have you used? We still find people who don’t know Airbnb but most people do know Uber. Our co-founder, Rosanna, as you know is a big Airbnb user but has to-date not used Uber or Lyft (gasp!). She has used Rover (dog sitter), Turo (car rental) and Care (gramma caretaker).

According to a separate study by Jupiter Research, the sharing economy will be worth more than $20 billion a year by 2020, three times what it is today. It is inevitable that more and more people will hear about companies and terms of the on-demand economy. Juniper has also predicted that ride-sharing which includes Uber, Lyft will be worth $6.5 billion by 2020. Companies like Airbnb, in the space-rental category, are supposed to be worth even more than ride-sharing by 2019.

This exponential growth will affect more people around the world every day and we at Vijilent want to be a part of this fascinating change to the new digital economy.

Find out more about the Pew Research here.

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