This year, 27.0 million US adults will use the sharing economy at least once, according to eMarketer’s first forecast on the subject. The number of users will grow by double digits through 2018, as more Americans flock to the convenience of services such as Airbnb and Uber.
eMarketer defines sharing economy users as adults who use an account at a community-based online service to coordinate peer-to-peer paid access to property, goods, or services at least once in a calendar year. The forecast also includes several other companies that allow users to book services or rent goods. eMarketer does not include online marketplaces, group buying, incorporated professional services or crowd-sourcing in its definition of the sharing economy.
This year, 15.0 million US adults will use a ride-sharing service or other sharing economy transportation service, a 20.5% increase over last year. While the segment will continue to grow through 2020, next year will be the last year of double-digit growth, as the segment matures.
“While Uber has steadily expanded to more cities across the US, we expect demand for transportation-oriented sharing economy services, like Uber, to reach a cap, mainly restricted by continued competition from traditional taxi services, heavier regulations and government bans,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco. “Growth has been driven mainly by business travelers, and demand appears to be reaching saturation among that group.”
As the transportation sector of the sharing economy matures, the lodging sector still has room to grow, and is catching up. By 2020, 20.4 million US adults will use a transportation sharing economy service, while 19.3 million will use a lodging service.
In fact, transportation’s share of users will decrease in the coming years, while lodging’s share will increase.
“Sharing economy lodging services, such as Airbnb, have more potential to grow in the long run,” said Orozco. “More rental units are coming online and, on average, rates are significantly undercutting traditional hotel room rates. With US consumers traveling more frequently for leisure and business, often for shorter stays, there continues to be significant growth potential for services like Airbnb and HomeAway.”