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National Poll Shows Ethics, Social Recommendations Fuel the Growing Sharing Economy

May 20, 2013 1:56 am

According to a new national poll, the emergence of the Sharing Economy is primarily driven by philosophical ideals, in addition to the financial benefits. The poll of over 2,000 adults was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Airbnb.

Leading the way in sharing are people under 35 years old (30 percent), who are more likely to be digitally savvy. Rachel Botsman, author of "What's Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live," estimates that the Sharing Economy is a $26 billion industry that will continue to grow rapidly as Americans look for new revenue opportunities in a down economy.

While many people who have shared property or belongings online started sharing to make extra cash (31 percent), evidence points to a shift in motivation for those who continue to participate in the new economic model. A plurality of sharers (36 percent) identified that the philosophical beliefs behind sharing—values often instilled in kindergarten—were their top motivation. This finding may partially explain the success seen by community marketplaces for sharing where financial and philosophical benefits are integrated.

"The down economy has created an appetite for sharing that is expanding economic opportunities for people to generate income with big ticket items like their homes, cars or skills," said Farnoosh Torabi, a personal finance expert, author and TV personality. "Often people begin sharing as a way to make money, but we're seeing that philosophical benefits and social connections are the reasons people come back time and time again. The bridge between online and offline communities are creating the virility and stickiness that is propelling the 'Sharing Economy' forward."

Among sharers, the vast majority (77 percent) agree that being able to borrow or rent property or belongings online is a great way to save money, and two thirds (68 percent) agree that it is a great way to earn additional income. Six in ten sharers (61 percent) agree that earning extra money is a major motivation for sharing, and almost half (46 percent) put the earned money toward paying bills.

Responses indicated a general belief in the growth of the Sharing Economy. A majority (60 percent) sees the sharing economy as a new trend. A majority of those who have shared (55 percent) say that they would recommend sharing with others, indicating a potentially strong growth trajectory. This conclusion is consistent with analysts' projections around the growth of the Sharing Economy.

Source: Airbnb

Published with permission from RISMedia.