Shared, Collaborative and On Demand: The New Digital Economy

The sharing economy and on-demand services are weaving their way into the lives of (some) Americans, raising difficult issues around jobs, regulation and the potential emergence of a new digital divide. A number of new commercial online services have emerged in recent years, each promising to reshape some aspect of the way Americans go about their lives.

Some of these services offer on-demand access to goods or services with the click of a mouse or swipe of a smartphone app. Others promote the commercialized sharing of products or expertise, while still others seek to connect communities of interest and solve problems using open, collaborative platforms. These services have sparked a wide-ranging cultural and political debate on issues such as how they should be regulated, their impact on the changing nature of jobs and their overall influence on users’ day-to-day lives.

At the same time, around one-quarter of Americans (28%) say they have not used any major shared or on-demand platforms, and many are wholly unfamiliar with the tools and vocabulary of the new digital economy.

  • 61% of Americans have never heard of the term “crowdfunding.”
  • 73% are not familiar with the term “sharing economy.”
  • 89% are not familiar with the term “gig economy.”

Shared, Collaborative and On Demand: The New Digital Economy Americans and the new digital economy: 8 key findings (more from Pew) How Americans define the sharing economy (Pew)