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BizReport : Research archives : September 26, 2016

Trust holding back sharing economy adoption

A lack of trust and clarity surrounding responsibility is holding back the sharing economy, according to a study by global online review community Trustpilot.

by Helen Leggatt

Nearly 4 in 10 people (39%) worry that services provided through the sharing economy, such as ride shares, accommodation or pet sitting, can not be trusted as much a through traditional channels.

While the savings made engaging with the sharing economy aren't to be sniffed at (63% of people in the study had found cheaper accommodation through the likes of Airbnb) trust issues remain.

However, there are ways in which this anxiety can be ameliorated. If a family member or friend has had a good experience with a sharing service this helps adoption. Forty-two p
ercent of those studied said they would usually wait until someone they knew had used a service before using it themselves.

Over half (57%) said online reviews would help to influence their choice when purchasing a product or service from a sharing economy platform. A similar amount (55%) say positive reviews would go a long way to help them feel more confident about the service or product in question.

Concerns about clarity of responsibility also put off 29% of potential users of the sharing economy, found Trustpilot. A third (36%) feel the owner of the property should be ultimately responsible should a property rental advertised on a sharing economy platform or be different to that advertised or photographed online. However, 32% believe the sharing economy platform should be ultimately responsible if prices for a sharing economy product/service are different than advertised or if the end-user is overcharged.

"It's clear that sharing economy models can provide a huge amount of benefit to consumers. These schemes can often work out cheaper, and they can offer more choice and flexibility," said James Westlake, UK VP at Trustpilot. "However, the lines are blurred in terms of who holds responsibility when things go wrong. As our research shows, for these models to work, everyone, including the end user, needs to hold part of the responsibility. It's no wonder this can seem daunting for many people."

"However, online reviews can play a key role in addressing these concerns. Spending time researching websites, products, services and providers will help mitigate risks. Online reviews provide a huge wealth of information and can help you make informed choices by learning from the first hand experiences of others."

Tags: research, sharing economy, trust

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