RICHMOND, VA: Just over half (51%) of US consumers say they’re likely to use sharing economy services for their summer travel bookings this year, a new survey has revealed.
Specifically, insurance firm Allianz Global Assistance found that 26% say they’re “very” likely to use services like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft, while another 25% are “somewhat” likely.
Based on responses from more than 1,000 US consumers who were polled by research firm Ipsos in May, Allianz said it meant the popularity of the sharing economy for summer travel booking has tripled within two years.
Just 17% of Americans said they planned to use such services in 2015 and Allianz attributed the rapid growth to greater familiarity with the sharing economy across the board.
For example, around half (51%) of US consumers are now familiar with home rental service Airbnb compared with just a third (32%) in 2015.
Travel companies Uber and Lyft are recognised by 73% and 56% respectively, while other services are also doing well in terms of brand awareness.
These include HomeAway (30%), another rental marketplace, social dining site Feastly (16%) and GetAround (18%), the online car-sharing service.
However, greater familiarity appears not to have translated into greater trust because only about a fifth (17%) of Americans say they are “very trusting” of sharing services, with the rest (83%) at least somewhat sceptical.
Allianz said the hesitation for some consumers to trust the evolving gig economy may be the result of recent negative stories in the news, such as safety concerns relating to ride-sharing services.
The report also found that, while traditional services still outperform the sharing economy when it comes to customer service, US consumers view the sharing economy as providing better value.
“In the years that we've conducted the Sharing Economy Index, it has been incredible to see the significant growth in familiarity and use of sharing economy services for summer travel,” said Daniel Durazo, Director of Communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA.
“We’re seeing more and more travellers, especially millennials, utilising services like Airbnb because they are seeking value and a locally authentic experience,” he added.
Data sourced from Allianz Global Assistance; additional content by WARC staff