Search Data Shows Sharing Economy On The Rise

Sharing economy sites in the U.S., like Airbnb and Uber, continue to take a lot of slack from traditional businesses, but recent search data suggests advertising maybe missing an opportunity to reach them with goods and services.

Data from Hitwise, a Connexity company, on the sharing economy finds consumers that grew up with the Internet, individuals between the ages of 18 and 34, are 40% more likely to visit financial-sharing sites that allow them to co-fund specific projects or causes. In fact they are 33% more likely to use Kickstarter and 22% more likely to use Indiegogo.

Users between the ages of 18 and 34, known as digital natives, are less like to use a space-sharing Web site, rent spaces in homes, rooms or offices, but over index with it comes to couch surfing. Individuals ages 25 to 34 are more likely to visit office space sharing and co-working Web sites such as WeWork, PivotDesk, and Liquidpace, compared with any other demographic.

U.S. consumers age 35 and older, who did not grow up with the Internet, are less likely to engage with crowdfunding, but are more likely to visit peer-to-peer lending sites. In fact, they are 9% more likely to use Lending Club, 9% more likely to use Prosper, and 3% more likely to use PeerForm.

This age group, which Hitwise calls "digital migrents," are overall less likely to participate in the sharing economy, but are more highly engaged with home swapping and peer-to-peer lending sites. Individuals in the U.S. age 35 and older are 10% more likely than digital natives to visit space sharing sites, and represent the majority of visits to sites like VRBO, Airbnb and Home Away.

The Hitwise study examined space and financial sharing activity. Itreveals defines the sharing economy as a "peer-to-peer value exchange such as facilities, money, goods and information." For example, the Los Angeles Metro Bike Share program where customers can register their transit fare card to ride Metro bikes.

Hitwise sourced the data from panel partners to analyze the online behavior of more than 8 million U.S. opt-in panelists, including 3.5 million mobile devices. The data samples and weights behavior using algorithms representative of the U.S. population.

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