Rising Familiarity With Sharing Services Not Necessarily Resulting in Better Perceptions of Them

July 31, 2018

Some 83% of US adults report being familiar with at least one sharing economy service used for traveling, such as AirbnB, Lyft, or HomeAway, according to a recent report from Ipsos and Allianz Global Assistance. That’s up from about two-thirds (66%) expressing familiarity with such services a couple of years ago.

Yet usage of these services – and trust in them – appears to be stagnant, if not declining. Slightly fewer than half (47%) plan to use one this summer, and the percentage of respondents indicating that they would be “very likely” to do so, at 19%, is a marked fall from last year’s 26%.

Moreover, there’s been a dip in trust for these services: 62% this year say they find these services to very or somewhat trustworthy, down slightly from 65% last year.

The shift in perceptions, however slight, is interesting given that two of the bigger names – Uber and Lyft, have enjoyed some recent positive momentum (albeit not without some continuing issues for Uber). For example, a YouGov report found that Lyft was one of the most improved brands in terms of positive buzz in 2017, while an analysis from NetBase indicated that Uber is the most-loved transportation brand on social media, with its new CEO having a positive effect on brand perception.

Nonetheless, sharing economy services are trailing traditional services in several key areas, according to the Ipsos report. For example, Americans believe by an almost 3:1 margin that traditional services outperform sharing economy services in quality and in booking experience. They’re also more than 4 times as likely to believe that traditional services have better customer support when things go wrong as sharing economy services.

Sharing economy services, for their part, appear to have a leg up in providing a more authentic local experience and in being better value for the money.

However, on an overall basis, respondents are twice as likely to believe that traditional services (29%) rather than sharing economy services (14%) offer the best overall experience, though it’s worth noting that a plurality (34%) feel that they’re the same on this front.

There are a couple of additional interesting points worth noting from the report:

  • The trends appear to be favoring traditional services, as fewer generally this year than last indicated that sharing economy services outperformed traditional services across most attributes; and
  • Even Millennials – the most familiar with sharing economy services – increasingly feel that traditional services provide the best overall experience.

The full report can be downloaded here.

3 in 10 Adults Report Using Ride-Sharing Services

Separately, new research from Gallup reveals that 3 in 10 adults use ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Propensity to use ride-sharing apps is highest among 18-29-year-olds, among whom almost half (45%) do so. It’s also higher among those with income of at least $90,000 (41%) than those with lower income thresholds (<30%). Finally, adults living in cities (37%) and suburbs (34%) are more than twice as likely as those living in towns and rural areas (16%) to use ride-sharing services.

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