SOURCE: Airbnb


May 16, 2013 09:00 ET

Sharing Graduates From Kindergarten: National Poll Shows Ethics, Social Recommendations Fuel the Growing Sharing Economy

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - May 16, 2013) - 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, a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. Leading the way in sharing are people under 35 years old (30%), 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%), evidence points to a shift in motivation for those who continue to participate in the new economic model. A plurality of sharers (36%) identified that the philosophical beliefs behind sharing -- values often instilled in kindergarten -- was their top motivation. This finding may partially explain the success seen by community marketplaces for sharing, such as Airbnb, 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 virality and stickiness that is propelling the 'Sharing Economy' forward."

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

Responses indicated a general belief in the growth of the Sharing Economy. A majority (60%) sees the sharing economy as a new trend. A majority of those who have shared (55%) 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.

Other key findings from the Ipsos Public Affairs poll include:

Who is sharing?

  • Men (21% vs. 14% of women), households with children (23% vs. 15%), and unmarried individuals (20% vs. 15%) are more likely to have shared their property or belongings online
  • Among those who have not shared their property or belongings online, those who are most receptive to learning more about the sharing economy include younger adults (57%) as well as those aged 35-54 (46%) compared to only three in ten (30%) of people 55 and over
  • Those with children in the household (52%) and those with a college education (50%) are also more likely to express an interest in learning about the sharing economy

Why share?

  • The top motivation for people who have shared is philosophical, tied to the ability to help others (36%)
  • Those who have not shared before are most likely to be moved by the financial reward or compensation (42%)
  • Other reasons to share online include the chance to support or promote sustainability (24% of sharers vs. 12% of non-sharers respectively), and social rewards such as the chance to meet people (25% vs. 8%, respectively)

What are the financial benefits?

  • Six in ten sharers (61%) agree that earning extra money was the main motivation for sharing property or belongings
  • Sharers put the money they have earned from sharing primarily toward basic expenses such as paying bills (46%), savings (27%), shopping (26%), travel (17%), supporting charities (17%), or starting a business (13%)
  • Over four in ten non-sharers (43%) agree that they'd consider sharing their property or belongings online with someone they didn't previously know if it would allow them to make extra money
  • Three in ten non-sharers (29%) say that they would consider sharing their home (or a room in their home) online with someone they didn't previously know if it would cover at least part of their mortgage or rent

About Airbnb
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world -- online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point, in more than 35,000 cities and 192 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

About Ipsos Public Affairs
Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.
Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.
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