I was out Easter morning with a group of parents for our annual Easter Egg hunt when the subject of Airbnb and the “sharing economy” came up.
Someone suggested that many of these services are targeting millennials, who unfortunately don’t have any money. This is not a new idea as the most recent crop of college graduates faced one of the toughest job markets in decades.
Slate covered the phenomena quite thoroughly in a piece last December, How Broke Are Millennials? This Broke.
Now I’m no millennial at 54, but we’re Airbnb (off -1 points or 2 percent at 82) hosts, plus I know a few 20 somethings who regularly avail themselves to the mobile sharing economy, like Zipcar (off -3 points or 7 percent at 4).
(Note: Uber (No Change at 93 points) and Lyft (No Change at 69 points) are re-launching in Portland after protracted negotiations with the Portland city council.)
I responded to my fellow Easter Egg hunt parents that the sharing economy couldn’t be better suited to the cash strapped millennial demographic. Forgoing the purchase and ongoing costs of a car. Avoiding expensive and impersonal hotels. Extending your stay with someone who has actually lived in the city you’re trying to explore.
These are all hallmarks of a millennial mindset. And coming out of the Great Recession (No Change at 91 points), this mindset is becoming quite common across even the parents of these millennials. I, on the other hand, am the proud parent of a post-millennial brood of girls.
It didn’t take me but a single Airbnb guest to figure out that the sharing economy is as much a cultural shift as it is an economic one.
As I look out my window there’s a Car2Go (off -3 points or 7 percent at 45) parked across the street. And I can here my Airbnb guests returning from a beautiful sunny day in Portland.
After covering much of the economic, technology and science trend landscape, it’s refreshing to see a few brands and related economic trends truly making a difference in the cultural sphere of the young and not-so-affluent. Whether out of necessity or choice, millennials are seeking experiences (sharing) and not “things” (more cars).
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