Use of sharing economy services can require a good deal of trust — agreeing to get into a stranger’s car or showing up at their home to spend the night requires a leap of faith by the consumer that doing so will not put them in danger — or at least no more so than the taxicabs or hotels they would be utilizing otherwise. Thus it isn’t surprising that a large majority of users (60%) said they considered personal safety a key factor they thought about when choosing a sharing economy service, according to our latest report on the sharing economy.
Meanwhile, the second most prevalent factor in their consideration was “saving money” at 46%. Because of their increased efficiency, sharing economy platforms often indeed are able to offer services and goods for less money — but it should be noted that many of these platforms (like Uber and Airbnb) are venture-funded, and have kept consumer prices artificially low in many markets as they struggled to take command of market share by undercutting competitors. So these consumer savings may not last long-term.
Users also cited the “reputation of the platform” and “knowing something about the other person” as highly important factors (at 38% and 28% respectively). In a lot of ways, both of these reasons hearken back to the personal safety factor cited as most prevalent, as both the platform’s reputation and knowledge of the other person are factors in determining whether a user feels safe.
Pulling together these three factors, it’s reasonable to think that a sharing platform that wants to increase usage should focus on increasing the comfort and trust of the users with their relative safety and privacy on the platform. While it is perhaps true that older users might never be as comfortable sharing a stranger’s car or home as a younger user, it’s possible that over time older users may come to think of using ride-sharing services as essentially the same as using taxis.
Learn more on the Sharing Economy in our free white paper.