Baby boomers are leaping on the sharing economy bandwagon and taking advantage of new opportunities to boost their wealth and pre-retirement income, according to the latest RateSetter Sharing Economy Trust Index.
The RateSetter Sharing Economy Trust Index is a bi-annual report that measures the attitudes and behaviour of Australians towards sharing economy services such as Uber, Airbnb and eBay.
Released this week, the report revealed that the average amount earned by 55-64-year-olds through the sharing economy increased the most of any age group (121%), when compared to the previous six months. This represents an increase amongst earners from $52 to $115. Baby boomers and pre-retirees are increasingly selling goods online, letting out their spare rooms, driving people around and investing through peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.
Daniel Foggo, RateSetter CEO, said the findings showed that nearly two thirds of all Australians used the sharing economy in the past six months, and that somewhat surprisingly pre-retirees showed the largest appetite for using the sharing economy to generate income and invest funds.
“Markets are volatile and interest rates are at all-time lows. Many boomers and pre-retirees are feeling the pinch of lower returns and yields – and they are struggling to make their retirement dreams a reality. That’s where the sharing economy, with its many flexible ways of earning and investing really fits the bill in terms of supplementing their income.
“And the Index shows that there are opportunities for new employment for a potentially large group of Australians who are keen to work, but might find it challenging to find traditional jobs.
“The beauty of the sharing economy is that everyone, young and old, can participate in a way which suits them,” Mr Foggo explained.
Interest and demand increasing
Research from the report stated suggests Australia’s sharing economy is set to go from strength to strength, with over two thirds (68%) of Australians willing to use sharing economy services in the next six months – an increase of 27 percentage points compared with six months ago. Increased understanding of and trust in the sharing economy is likely to be at the heart of this greater willingness to participate.
“As the sector continues to grow in Australia, we expect regulation and oversight to increase, and this is something we welcome. The lack of understanding of the sharing economy, coupled with issues relating to regulation were cited as barriers preventing Australians from using these services by 49% and 40% of survey respondents respectively. Given these findings it’s clear that greater transparency, understanding and regulation would benefit everyone,” Mr Foggo said.
In conclusion, Mr Foggo said that that in the UK, where the shared economy is more widely used than here, the governing trade body has developed a ‘TrustSeal’ quality certification mark which is awarded to businesses which meet a list of stringent good practice principles.
“We would welcome such a certification here. The shared economy has so much to offer, so any means of rewarding good operators and encouraging more Australians to participate can only be a good thing,” Mr Foggo said.