The face of Britain's sharing economy is a male Lononder between the age of 25 and 34, according to a major study into the Brits making money out of the sharing economy by Intuit QuickBooks.
And despite the high profiles of Uber and Airbnb, the most popular platform is actually peer-to-peer ecommerce website, Etsy, with one in three (34%) of those in the sharing economy using the marketplace to sell and profit.
The potential rewards for gig economists are significant. Earlier research from QuickBooks found that one in five Brits who use sharing economy services earn over £500 per week and 3% make over £78k per year. But what are these profits used for? This new research found that two in five (39%) use profits made to save for the future, while a quarter (26%) spend cash made on luxuries or entertainment. Fourteen per cent said they use it to pay bills.
As ways of working continue to evolve, many people are going it alone to become freelance or self-employed, sometimes in addition to their regular job. It seems they’re happier doing sharing economy work too; the research shows that only 32% gain more satisfaction from their regular job. It’s no surprise then that a third (32%) said the single best thing about the sharing economy was getting to work the hours they choose and more than a quarter (28%) liked having a better work-life balance.
Looking to the future, 30% think Airbnb will be the most durable sharing economy service, followed by Uber and Etsy (both 23%). Half (48%) predict that earnings will increase over the next few years. While the benefits of the sharing economy are clear, being involved is not without its challenges. Almost half (46 per cent) stated that finding enough time to devote to sharing economy services was difficult and a further two in five (38%) found managing their taxes challenging.
Rich Preece, Europe VP and managing director at Intuit QuickBooks, said: “We know that serious money is being made through sharing economy services, but we thought it would be really interesting to put a face on those at the heart of it. The ability to pick your own hours, earn additional income and often do something their passionate about is central to those profiting from the sharing economy.
“As more people go self-employed, sell services in their spare time, or alter their working patterns to earn additional income, one of their key challenges will be to ensure that managing the financial and tax aspects of their multiple revenue streams doesn’t take away time from actually bringing in money.”