From Airbnb to Homeaway, Uber to Lyft and beyond, the “sharing economy” is changing the way we travel. A new survey shows that the number of Americans who say they will use some sharing economy service to travel this year is more than the double the number who did in 2015.

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Photo Courtesy of Airbnb

Travel Via the Sharing Economy

I just booked my first-ever Airbnb. My 20-year-old daughter, who will be staying with me at this cute little apartment in Madrid, is an old pro. She’s booked Airbnb lodgings in other parts of the world and regularly gets around Chicago via Uber and Lyft. I guess that makes my family a microcosm of the new study from Allianz Global Assistance USA that shows the number of Americans who will use some sort of service from the so-called sharing economy this year is double the number who used it last year.

Why is it growing so fast? Because we are more familiar with the services that we were when they started, the company says.

The first-ever Allianz Travel Insurance Sharing Economy Index, released in 2015, found that just 17 percent of Americans said they were likely to use sharing economy services such as AirBnB, HomeAway, Uber or Lyft during their summer vacation. This year, one in three Americans said they were likely to use those services.

Millennials Lead the Way

Not surprisingly, millennials like my daughter lead the sharing economy trend. Two-thirds of people ages 18-34 said they are likely to use the sharing economy to travel. That’s nearly double the 37 percent who said last year they would do it. About one-third of older folks, those ages 35-54, said they would use the sharing economy and only 14 percent of those over 55 would.

The survey also found differences by income. Americans with an annual income of $50,000 or more are more likely to use sharing economy services than those with an income of less than $50,000.

Allianz says the dramatic growth is due to our growing familiarity and trust in the services. Nearly 90 percent of American millennials say they are familiar with the sharing economy (up 28 percentage points from 2015), compared to two-thirds of Americans aged 35-54 (up 14 points) and half of those aged 55 or over (up 20 points).

America is also becoming more aware of the variety of sharing economy services on offer. Uber tops the list with 62 percent of Americans saying they are familiar with the service (up 27 points from 2015). Numbers for other services are:

  • AirBnB is up 16 points with 35 percent familiarity
  • Lyft rose 19 points to 34 percent familiarity
  • HomeAway is up 8 points to 18 percent
  • GetAround is up 4 points to 11 percent
  • Feastly is up 6 points to 10 percent

With greater familiarity also comes increased trust. The survey showed that 48 percent of Americans find sharing economy services such as AirBnB, HomeAway, Uber or Lyft to be trustworthy, up four points from 2015.

Sharing economy

When asked about which services provide the better experience, the survey found that more Americans use the sharing economy because they think it provides better value (26 percent; up nine percent) and the more authentic local experience (22 percent; up 10 percent). However, they still prefer traditional services such as online services like Expedia.com, using a travel agent, or booking directly with a hotel, restaurant or hire car service for providing the better overall experience (25 percent), quality product (31 percent), booking (31 percent) and customer support when things go wrong (40 percent).

Sharing economy

“We’re at an interesting intersection right now between sharing economy and conventional services,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “The playing field is quite level with many Americans having an uncertainty about which services provide the better experience, which opens an opportunity for the lesser known sharing economy to take a bigger stake as awareness continues to increase. There was already significant growth in use, familiarity and trust of the sharing economy over the last year showing that these services are not a fad and have great potential for longevity.”

Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, Allianz online or like Allianz on Facebook.

The Sharing Economy Index was established in 2015 by Allianz Global Assistance USA and is conducted each summer by national polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs.

Methodology: These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Allianz from May 3 to 10, 2016. For the survey, a sample of n=2,007 Americans was interviewed online via Ipsos’s American online panel.  The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a Bayesian credibility interval.  In this case, with a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had all Americans been polled. The margin of error will be larger within sub-groupings of the survey population.

Millenials are leading the way when it comes to Travel Sharing Economy!

Millenials are leading the way when it comes to Travel Sharing Economy!

Allianz Global Assistance USA

Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company) is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company.  It insures 21 million customers annually and is best known for its Allianz Travel Insurance plans. In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Global Assistance USA offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for health insurers, property and casualty insurers, and credit card companies.

Note: Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply to all plans.  Plans are available only to U.S. residents.  Not all plans are available in all jurisdictions.  For a complete description of the coverage and benefit limits offered under your plan, carefully review your plan’s Letter of Confirmation/Declarations and Certificate of Insurance/Policy.  Insurance coverage is underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated “A-” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101-C series or 101-P series, depending on state of residence.  Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are brands of AGA Service Company.  AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company.  The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company.  Non-insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. “Lyft” is a registered trademark of Lyft, Inc.; “AirBnB” is a registered trademark of Airbnb, Inc.; “GetAround” is a registered trademark of GetAround, Inc.; “Uber” is a registered trademark of Uber Technologies, Inc.; “Expedia.com” is a registered trademark of Expedia, Inc.; “Feastly” is a mark of Featly, Inc.; “HomeAway” is a registered trademark of HomeAway.com, Inc.; “Facebook” is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.  (collectively, “Non-sponsors”).  “Allianz Travel Insurance” and “Allianz Global Assistance” are marks of AGA Service Company. Marks not owned by AGA Service Company are used without permission.  The Non-sponsors do not sponsor or endorse AGA Service Company or this advertisement, and AGA Service Company does not sponsor or endorse any of the Non-sponsors.

Thanks to Allianz Travel Insurance for sponsoring this post, providing travel coverage for the unexpected. TravelingMom received financial compensation from Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company).