• 05.19.16

Most Americans Don’t Use Services Like Airbnb, Uber, and Instacart

Few Americans use the on-demand services that young, wealthy, college-educated urbanites can’t live without.

Most Americans Don’t Use Services Like Airbnb, Uber, and Instacart
[Photo: Flickr user Simon Carr]

If you’re a resident of greater Silicon Valley, the sharing/gig/on-demand economy might seem like old news. But a new Pew survey published on Thursday found that most Americans aren’t familiar with these terms–and don’t use services such as Airbnb, Uber, and Instacart.


“Crowdfunding” platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo were the best known category in the survey, with 39% of survey respondents saying that they’d heard the term. Only 27% had heard the term “sharing economy,” and only 11% had heard the term “gig economy.”

Though about 72% of respondents had used some type of sharing or on-demand service, they most commonly used shopping services. Purchasing used or second-hand goods online was the most popular activity (50%), followed by same-day or expedited delivery (41%) and buying tickets from an online reseller (28%).

Just 15% of respondents had used ride-hailing apps such as Uber, 11% had used home-sharing services like Airbnb, and 6% had used grocery delivery services such as Instacart.

Adoption of these sharing/gig/on-demand services–no surprise–trended toward the young, wealthy, educated, and urban. In other words, if using these services seems like standard practice, it’s due to your particular circumstances rather than ubiquitous adoption in our country.

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.