Consumers Don’t Trust the Sharing Economy

Big Sharing Economy brands now mainstream — building trust fundamental to this growth.

Generation of “crowd brand aggregators” are the brand leaders in the Sharing Economy.

This week is Global Sharing Week, but a new survey of over 850 UK and US consumers, finds that more than one-­third of consumers have never participated in the Sharing Economy, because of concerns about personal safety and that their possessions will be kept safe.

The Sharing Economy Consumer Views Survey, conducted by Veridu and The People Who Share, reveals that certain sectors of the Sharing Economy are now mature and a mainstream part of consumer purchasing patterns, in particular used goods trading (e.g. eBay), accommodation (e.g. Airbnb), and transport (e.g. Uber and Zipcar). However, many other sectors are still in the early adoption phase, such as peer-to-peer loans with slightly less than 5% of respondents having participated.

Trust comes through strongly as a reason for those choosing not to participate in the Sharing Economy, with the primary reasons given including:

  • Unwillingness to share possessions with strangers (41%)
  • Concerns for personal safety (34%)
  • Worries that possessions would be damaged (29%)

As Rasmus Groth, Founding CEO of Veridu points out, “Peer trust is of crucial importance to the success of Sharing Economy platforms with participants actively researching the other party prior to engaging in a transaction. Of respondents who had abandoned a sharing economy transaction in the past, nearly a quarter (21%) did so because they wanted to know more about the other party.”

Rasmus Groth, Founding CEO, Veridu

Reviews left by other members and the reputation of the sharing platform were the most popular sources of information on both sides of the pond, with 98% and 97% of respondents respectively likely to research these at some level.

“The survey highlights the need for Sharing Economy platforms to put in place ‘TrustTech’ that allows members to build, manage and showcase their personal brands, enabling a bigger crowd to safely share goods and services,” says Benita Matofska, founder of The People Who Share and continues: “Global Sharing Week helps people and companies discover the benefits of the Sharing Economy and understand how it is possible to safely trust strangers, which will lead to many more millions being able to participate worldwide.”

The benefits of a crowd aggregated reputation are significant, with many people now running their own micro-businesses facilitated by Sharing Economy platforms. Successful personal brands are those who have invested time and effort in ‘crowd brand aggregation’ by providing authentic experiences, based on honesty and mutual trust.

“With such importance placed on peer trust, the Sharing Economy must address the significant issue of fake reviews head on,” states Rasmus Groth, Founding CEO of Veridu. “Recent media headlines have highlighted the scale of this problem, and while the big, established brands are in a position to weather the storm, a smaller, more recently established platform is likely to fail if building trust is not front and centre to their strategy.”

Top tips when participating in the sharing economy:

  1. Check the platform’s Trust & Safety policy.
  2. Choose a platform that conducts robust identity verification.
  3. Read peer reviews before finalising a transaction with another member.
  4. Build out your own profile on the platform to create your personal brand.
  5. Be honest — about yourself and about what you are sharing/offering.

For more information on identity solutions for the Sharing Economy contact:

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