A new survey from Allianz has revealed that the popularity of sharing economy services in the US is down this year compared to 2017, particularly with Millennials, and that Baby Boomers are now the new drivers of the movement.
Sharing economy services involve renting out something that you’re not using for a stranger to use – everything from bicycles to cars to homes are put on the table – a trend that was incredibly popular in 2017 but is not so readily adopted in 2019. It seems that Gen Xers are driving the largest downward trend in usage, with only 41 per cent saying they will use sharing economy services this summer – down from 60 per cent two years ago – while 63 per cent of Millennials are planning to use such services this summer (down from 77 per cent from two years ago).
In a notable turn of events, however, Baby Boomers are now increasingly likely to use these services (24 per cent), climbing up from 19 per cent two years ago. Furthermore, Allianz comments: “Despite demographic shifts, the market still remains strong for its core customers. Travellers who are younger (i.e. Millennials), male and higher income earners (above $50,000) are significantly more likely than their counterparts to use sharing economy services.”
Allianz cites the reason for this downward market shift as being due to an overall decline in levels of trust: Millennials’ trust in sharing economy services has dropped 12 per cent from two years prior (now at 71 per cent) and only 55 per cent of Gen Xers have trust in the service (down 14 per cent from two years ago), while Baby Boomers’ trust has only fallen three per cent in the last two years – down to 44 per cent.
More recently, more established travel and hospitality companies are entering the sharing economy market – promising higher quality, more consistent experiences by providing new or differentiated products. Allianz notes that Marriott has recently announced a six-month trial with Hostmaker, a London-based homestay property management company. Other major hotel brand names like Hilton, Hyatt and Wyndham are also considering investments in similar home sharing businesses.
Daniel Durazo, Director of Marketing & Communications at Allianz Global Assistance, said: “When we created this index five years ago, we knew that trust would be crucial to the health of the sharing economy. The simultaneous drops in trust and usage highlight the main challenge that players providing sharing economy services will need to address.” He added that travel insurance can offer travellers peace of mind, as well as 24/7 global assistance for their travel experiences.